AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Hopes are placed in peace talks with ELN to "put an end to this war that makes no sense"

Friday, 1 April 2016 violence   armed groups   politics   bishops  


Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - The Archbishop of Tunja and President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (CEC), His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro, expressed optimism on the agreement for the opening of peace talks between the government and ELN (National Liberation Army). "We hope that as a result of this process, this group (ELN) is able to integrate into society, to put an end to this war that makes no sense", said the Archbishop.
The note sent to Fides by CEC informs that the Colombian Church in these past days had received a letter from ELN in which it was asked to be present at the negotiating table. Once the process was made public, after consultation with the President of the Republic and the Commission for Peace, a positive response was given, therefore all possible support to this dialogue will be given, hoping to give a positive contribution.
However, says the statement, talks with the guerrilla group, are conditioned by the fact that ELN does not hold any person kidnapped.
The Colombian Government informed that dialogue with ELN will take place in Ecuador. The sponsors of these new talks will be Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Norway, Chile and Cuba. According to data collected by Fides, the first contacts between the Colombian government and ELN date back to 2014, but because of the violent actions of the guerrilla group, nothing was achieved. ELN was the author of the bloodiest actions in recent times of the Colombian history. Born in 1964, ELN seems to count more than 2000 men.
With regard to the peace talks with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), being held in Cuba, the parties failed to find a final agreement last week. Despite this, the Colombian community is already talking of post-conflict with the FARC, of the transformation of the group into a political party and the formation of special courts to judge crimes committed during their insurgency. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 04/01/2016)