Now Colombian government, ELN rebels to hold peace talks

Bogota, Oct 11 (IANS) The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s second-largest guerrilla group, will begin peace talks on October 27 in Ecuador, authorities said.

According to a joint statement on Monday, the two sides have worked out an agenda, including the participation of society in the peace process, democratic reforms, and reparations for victims, Xinhua news agency reported.

The announcement came following the peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest rebel group.

The peace deal has prompted the ELN to negotiate with the government although the accord with FARC was rejected in a national referendum on October 2.

Immediately after the referendum results were revealed, the ELN said that despite the outcome, it would call on the Colombians to continue to tirelessly fight for peace with change.

As a goodwill gesture, the ELN released a captive to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday.

“I am pleased to report that the person who was freed is currently on the way to being reunited with his loved ones. The neutrality of the ICRC and the confidential dialogue between the parties involved in the armed conflict were crucial to the success of this operation,” said Christoph Harnisch, head of the Red Cross delegation in Colombia.



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