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Eln must clarify if it wants peace: Government

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Eln must clarify if it wants peace: Government

Eln must clarify if it wants peace: Government

Daniela Vargas

March 31, 2023 – 11:51 PM

The Eln must clarify if it has a real desire for peace or is using the peace process as a mechanism to strengthen itself.

That was the question that remained on the table after the meeting last night, at the Casa de Nariño, between President Gustavo Petro, the Church and the delegates of the guarantor and accompanying countries.

Said meeting was urgently summoned by the Government after the murder on Wednesday of nine soldiers in Catatumbo by that guerrilla, with which a peace negotiation is underway.

The high commissioner, Danilo Rueda, indicated that the attendance of the delegates of the guarantor and accompanying countries, as well as the Catholic Church, evidences the support for “the construction of this dialogue table, which today has a setback and a situation of crisis”.

“We have shared with the president and with all those who are part of this dialogue table the multiple message of the communities in different territories where the ELN operates. A message of solidarity with the soldiers who have fallen, but also a peremptory message for the ELN to act in accordance with its purposes and political ideals. Nothing justifies, with or without cessation, this type of situation that generates despair in Colombian society, but which particularly affects the inhabitants of all these territories who are fed up with violence”, the high commissioner specified.

He added that these communities summoned the Government and the peace delegation to a series of “listening scenarios” where they want to share their concerns and initiatives for “peremptory and demanding humanitarian agreements from all parties, but in particular from the ELN.”

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“Additionally, we have learned of the concern of the international community about the situation in which this table finds itself and we agree that these painful events, which today are expressing a crisis in this process, do not abate but, on the contrary, strengthen the construction of the this government’s peace project,” said Rueda.

After pointing out that “it is not with more deaths of any Colombian that peace is consolidated,” the high commissioner indicated that the ELN “has an immediate responsibility in its hands to generate hope in Colombian society. We hope that they listen to the Colombian people and that they listen to the communities. This Government offers that space and those possibilities. (Those of the ELN) may lose the opportunity at this moment in history to be the architects of the ethics of life and the ethics of the changes that our country deserves.”

In turn, Otty Patiño, head of the government negotiating delegation, said that there were two big questions that were put on the table in the meeting with the president, in front of which he emphasized a lot.

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“The first big question is whether the ELN is using the talks to strengthen itself as an organization and in its territories or if, on the contrary, its stay at the table means a real vocation for peace. And this is linked to another fundamental element: the ELN claims to be a political organization, but this recognition as a political organization has to do not only with something that is written on paper, but fundamentally with attitudes and actions, because peace is the clearer demonstration, and the consequence of what is said and discussed at the table, that it is a political organization or an organization that uses the political to strengthen itself in other aspects”, explained Patiño.

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The chief negotiator added that these questions that the national and international community are asking must be answered by the ELN, especially with the “communities that they say they defend or in which they say they have support.”

“This inquiry at this moment of crisis is absolutely pertinent… Before this third cycle begins, a clear answer is absolutely necessary so that we know what to expect from the ELN’s intentions in relation to this process.”

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