Colombia: ELN Invites President-Elect Duque to Peace Dialogues

The new round of negotiations between the insurgent group and the Colombian government started Monday in Havana, Cuba.

Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) invited the president-elect Ivan Duque to join the dialogue board between the insurgent group and the government, which is taking place in Havana, Cuba.
“I wish they contact us, join the board in Havana and take part in the accords that could be signed today,” Carlos Velandia, ELN's peace delegate, told Blu Radio.
The dialogues between the ELN and the Colombian government restarted Monday after being suspended several times. They will last five weeks, and both parties hope to reach an agreement, even though tensions are present.
In a press release, the ELN said the talks were in a “difficult moment” due to a lack of agreement on the proposed ceasefire and conditions regarding human rights.
“There are still differences that prevent signing a new bilateral ceasefire agreement,” said the guerrilla in the press release published before the beginning of the dialogues. The ceasefire is one of the dialogue's priority issues, both the parts have not been able to agree on it.
The ELN rejects the government's unwillingness to accept International Humanitarian Law as the standard reference to agreeing on humanitarian issues, as well as conditions to prevent future actions against the insurgent group.
The dialogue boards moved to Havana when Ecuador decided to stop brokering the process after an armed group in the Colombian border, which claims to be a dissident faction of the FARC, kidnapped and murdered three journalists.
Cuba also hosted the dialogues between the Colombian government and the FARC during four years, resulting in the historic peace agreement that ended with a decades-long armed conflict on November 24, 2014.
However, many are worried this agreement might be broken or conditioned by Ivan Duque and his mentor Alvaro Uribe when the president-elect is sworn in.
In their press release, also the ELN expressed its concern regarding Duque and his party Democratic Center's plans to review the peace agreement reached between the government and the demobilized FARC, now a political party going by the same acronym.



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