Friday, 22 September 2023 04:01 GMT

Colombian Govt, Guerrilla Group Sign 6-Month Ceasefire

(MENAFN- IANS) Havana, June 10 (IANS) The Colombian government and the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) have declared a six-month ceasefire following the end of the third round of peace talks held in the Cuban capital of Havana.
On Friday, both sides agreed to participate in the process of constructing peace in society and get prepared for a bilateral, national, and temporary ceasefire agreement, reports Xinhua news agency.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro, the first commander of ELN Antonio Garcia and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel attended the ceremony.
"In May 2025, the war of decades between the ELN and the state will cease for good," Petro said, adding that violence has harmed the construction of Colombia as a nation.
Meanwhile, Garcia underscored the importance of the national agreement that promotes the agenda for a change in the country, saying this peace process will contribute to the dignity of the Colombian people.
The fourth round of talks between the Colombian government and the ELN is scheduled to take place in Venezuela from August 14 to September 4.
"We ask Colombians not to stop and put their hearts in favour of peace in Colombia," said Diaz-Canel, adding that Latin American countries deserve to live in peace with social justice and development and without external interference or imposition.
The first round of talks took place in Venezuela in November 2022, followed by a second round in Mexico in February 2023.
The ELN, founded by Catholic priests in 1964, is Colombia's largest remaining rebel organisation.
It is believed to have about 2,500 remaining fighters and has been accused of financing itself through drug trafficking, illegal mining and kidnappings.
In 2019, conservative former President Ivan Duque called off peace talks after an ELN car bomb attack killed 22 people at a police academy in Bogota.
Over 450,000 people have been killed in nearly 60 years of armed conflict in Colombia.


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