QUITO, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Colombia's government and National Liberation Front (ELN) guerrillas on Monday signed in Quito, Ecuador a temporary ceasefire agreement to enhance conditions for peace negotiations.
The agreement, which is hosting the peace talks, calls for the ceasefire to go into effect on Oct. 1 for a period of 102 days, according to head negotiators Juan Camilo Restrepo, for the government, and Pablo Beltran, for the ELN.
The 2,000-strong ELN is Colombia's second-largest rebel group, after the now dismantled FARC, which signed a peace deal with the government in November that paved the way for the group's transition to a political party.
This first step is of immense importance. It is an enormous step towards building trust," Restrepo said at a joint press conference with Beltran at the headquarters of the Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed "this important advance towards full peace for Colombians," in a message posted to Twitter.
To hammer out the details of the ceasefire, which will be monitored with the help of the United Nations and the Catholic church, the two sides agreed to continue the current and third round of talks.
"Let the spirit of reducing the intensity of the conflict begin today, let's not wait until Oct. 1," the ELN's Beltran said.
The fourth round of ELN talks are to begin on Oct. 23.