QUITO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerilla group are satisfied with their first meeting here Saturday, which aimed to lead to formal peace negotiations.
"Today we had a fruitful meeting with the ELN delegation in Ecuador,"
Colombian delegation head Juan Camilo Restrepo posted on Twitter. "We hope to make progress to open negotiations soon."
On its part, the ELN expressed its satisfaction on Twitter after the Saturday's session during which "logistical and technical aspects were worked on, an important progress for the (upcoming) meeting."
The talks' objective is to finalize a date for the opening of formal dialogue to end the armed conflict between the Colombian government and the guerrilla group.
The beginning of formal talks is subject to the release of former congressman Odin Sanchez, who was held captive by the ELN last April. Delays in his release have already delayed talks twice previously.
A peace agreement with the ELN would finish peacemaking in
Colombia, which has suffered an armed conflict for more than half a
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a final peace accord last November with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest rebel group.
The ELN, which took up arms in 1964, has around 1,500 fighters, according to government figures.