Cuba Will Host the Third Cycle of Peace Talks Between Colombia and the ELN

The members of the second cycle of negotiations of the Peace Dialogues Table between the Government of Colombia and the ELN pose for an official photograph in Mexico. (EFE/Jose Mendez)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Mexico, 8 March 2023 — Cuba will be the host country of the third phase of the Peace Talks Table between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN), both parties reported this Wednesday, just a few days after the end of the current cycle that has been held in Mexico City since mid-February.

“The peace delegations of the Colombian government and the ELN deeply thank the Cuban government and its people for the unconditional willingness and fundamental support that, for more than four decades, they have given to peace building efforts in Colombia,” said a joint communiqué, which does not specify a date for the start of talks in Cuba.

They announced that “the third cycle will begin after a pause after the closing of the sessions that are currently taking place in Mexico City and that have produced substantial advances in the agenda of the conversations.”

During the talks in the Mexican capital, the key point has been to work to reach an agreement for a ceasefire by both parties, but mechanisms for the participation of society in the construction of peace have also been discussed.

It is expected that this Friday the delegations of the Government of Colombia and the ELN guerrilla forces will release a joint communiqué at the end of the cycle in Mexico City where they will present the achievements.

In an interview with EFE last Friday, the ELN’s chief negotiator, Pablo Beltrán, stressed that “confidence levels” had risen between both parties, but he was cautious about agreeing to a bilateral ceasefire.

“We aspire that in this cycle in Mexico we can at least mend the essence of the ceasefire. Not just an agreement, but the idea that each party puts on the table what the essential elements are and to come to a first package of consensus about that,” Beltrán said.

The Colombian government’s negotiations with the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, during the government of Juan Manuel Santos, and in 2018 they were transferred to Havana.

After the ELN’s attack against the cadet school in Bogotá in 2019, which left 22 dead and 68 injured , the Colombian government asked Cuba to hand over the negotiators, but the island invoked diplomatic protocols to not comply with that request.

Negotiations resumed in Caracas in 2022 under the auspices of Cuba, Norway and Venezuela as guarantor countries.

Mexico, together with Venezuela, Chile, Norway and Brazil are guarantors of the peace talks, while Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Spain act as accompanying countries.


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