Colombia: Negotiations in Quito need actions to de-escalate the armed conflict

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Image Credit: Resumen Latinoamericano

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / February 9, 2018

A delegation of organizations of civil society which support the peace process in Quito, gathered with president Juan Manuel Santos, the High Commissioner for the Peace, Rodrigo Rivera and Gustavo Bell, chief of the negotiating team, to raise a proposal that aims to revive the dialogues, de-escalate the armed actions on both sides and recover the credibility in this scenery. The same activity shall be carried on with a team of the ELN.

According to Marylen Serna, spokeswoman of the People’s Congress, the dialogue team of the government had the courtesy of hearing the organizations while a common objective was raised: achieving peace.

The proposal for the government and the ELN

During the dialogue with the government’s team, the civilian organization raised two important issues which aim to contribute to the construction of this peace process: providing guarantees to protect the life of social leaders and de-escalating the conflict.

Regarding the first issue, the team of the government stated that the authorities are taking every possible effort to protect the lives of the leaders and to ensure security in the communities. However, as Marylen Serna stated, the measures that are being taken by the institutions “are not effective enough to prevent the actions of the armed groups that attack the territories.”

With regards to the second subject, which aims to de-escalate the intensity of the military confrontation, the civilian organization proposed to both the government and to the ELN to generate gestures and commitments that allow them to overcome the current situation. In the same way, they highlighted the importance of evaluating the bilateral ceasefire as soon as the negotiation table starts again.

ELN announced an ‘Armed Strike’

The National Liberation Army (ELN) announced with a communiqué that starting February 10 to February 13, they will begin an armed strike. Serna assures that the social organizations that meet with the guerrilla “reject every action that has to do with violence and that affects the population”, and added that this statement by the ELN must be another reason to insist and retake the negotiations.

“It is a demonstration of force that every actor makes when they are in a negotiation process with a momentary suspension of dialogues, we feel that it is hard to understand but, at the same time, is part of the logic of war”, stated the spokeswoman of the People’s Congress.


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