Havana, (EFE).- The negotiators of the Government of Colombia and the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced this Thursday the extension of the third cycle of peace talks until June 8, ten days more than initially provided.
The third cycle, which follows those carried out in Venezuela (November) and Mexico (March), started on May 2 and was scheduled to end on May 29.
The parties assured that they are “positively advancing their work”, but that “given the importance of the issues on the agenda”, among which a ceasefire stands out, they have decided to “extend” the negotiations.
Dialogues despite difficulties
The announcement comes almost two weeks after the ELN put peace negotiations on “pause” on May 15, following statements by Colombian President Gustavo Petro.
The head of state, in an intervention before senior officials of the Armed Forces, assured that the “raison d’être” of the ELN was currently “illicit economies.”
The crisis ended five days later, with a joint communiqué in which both parties ratified their “signature decision” to “remain at the table until a peace agreement is reached with the transformations that the country needs.” The Government also reiterated the “political” nature of the ELN.
“We will continue to develop a joint vision of the conflict and the solutions that the country requires,” indicated the delegations, who advanced that “immediately” they intend to articulate the Mexico Agreement, reached this March, as well as “the set of agreements that will be have done at the table with the visions and proposals” of Petro.
The third cycle of negotiations, as agreed in Mexico, was going to focus on the ceasefire, humanitarian relief, and civil society participation in the process.
This is the third time that the table has entered into crisis. The first bump was suffered just after the government announced on December 31 a bilateral ceasefire that had not been agreed upon and that the ELN was quick to deny.
The second clash came from the attack last March where the guerrillas killed 10 soldiers in an ambush. The act took place in a hamlet in the municipality of El Carmen, in Norte de Santander, against soldiers from the Special Energy and Road Battalion No. 10.