Colombian gov't, ELN rebels resume peace talks in Cuba to agree on ceasefire

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-11 04:21:16|Editor: yan
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HAVANA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) resumed on Thursday in Cuba its fifth round of peace talks with the goal of agreeing on a new temporary ceasefire.

In a joint statement in Havana, the two sides agreed to continue the intense talks in the next few days to reach concrete results.

"We are aware of the historical responsibility we have for Colombians and the international community and must take decisive steps to put an end to the armed conflict," said Gustavo Bell, leader of the government delegation.

Bell also insisted on the need for the Colombian society to become a major player in the process and an eventual ceasefire that allows the South American nation to have future presidential elections in peace.

"We can expect concrete and favorable results in the medium term. With everyone's determination we can have a future of peaceful coexistence," he said.

Meanwhile, Commander Pablo Beltran, the top ELN negotiator, said that after the satisfactory experience of the 101 days of bilateral ceasefire previously agreed by both sides, a new agreement is on the table taking into consideration the upcoming elections on May 27.

Beltran said Colombia is going through a "complex" moment as the implementation of the Peace Agreement signed in Havana by the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) almost two years ago, faces "great difficulties".

"The only road for Colombia and for a political solution to the conflict is that this dialogue moves forward. No adversity will make us leave these talks and the goal is to take violence out of the conflict in our country," said Beltran.

He reiterated the ELN's concern about political persecution and violence against social leaders and former guerrilla fighters, a situation he describes as an "opposition genocide."

Bell and Beltran thanked Cuba for allowing both delegations to hold the talks in this Caribbean nation, after Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, announced in April his decision to stop hosting the process and withdrawing as a guarantor country.

The talks are scheduled to conclude on May 25, when both delegations will report the results of their dialogues and their decisions on whether to continue holding the peace process in the island or in other guarantor countries, such as Brazil, Chile, Venezuela or Norway.

For four years Havana had hosted representatives of the former FARC guerrilla and Santos' government in a process that definitely concluded in November 2016 with the signing of a Peace Agreement currently in its implementation phase.