Source: Colombia Informa / The Dawn News / March 12, 2018
On Monday Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the continuation of the peace talks between his government and the National Liberation Army -ELN-. This announcement comes in the context of the unilateral ceasefire promoted by the ELN and the recent legislative elections.
The objectives of the 5th Cycle of Negotiations will be the implementation of a mechanism of societal participation and the negotiation of a new Bilateral Ceasefire between the parties.
According to different sources, and after going through a deep crisis, the dialogues between the ELN and the Colombian government will be resumed once again to fulfill the demands and petitions of different organizations of the Colombian civil society, the international community and of the process’ supporting countries.
The decision taken by the government aligns with the new Ceasefire promoted by the guerrilla group. This action is seen as an act of goodwill towards the civil society due to the upcoming elections and as a step forward for the continuation of the negotiations.
The next step will be the trip to Cuba by the government’s Delegation to meet their counterpart in order to install the 5th Cycle of Negotiations and continue on the agreed upon schedule. Colombian society awaits the agreement on a new Ceasefire and for the establishment of a methodology for participation, while recovering the agreements achieved in the hearings last year in Tocancipá.
The new Dialogue Table will happen while the country goes through turbulent times, since the legislative elections have just happened, the presidential elections are around the corner and Santos’ term is near its end.
This process must guarantee the maintenance of the Table and its schedule for the next government in order to advance towards the democratization of the Colombian society.
The Outcry of Society
On March 9, social organizations went to the Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá to demand the reactivation of Quito’s Dialogue Table. With chants directed at both sides, the social organizations aimed to express their commitment with the Dialogue Table and their disposal to actively participate in the process.
In a communiqué, the social organizations expressed that they are aware of the complex moment the Negotiations and the country are going through (in the middle of elections and political transition).
This call by the civil society was done with the motive of celebrating the initiation of the Unilateral Ceasefire announced by the insurgency, as a token of respect to the Colombians that cast their vote on Sunday.
“Mr. President Santos, we believe that the unilateral ceasefire announced by the ELN in the context of the legislative elections is a perfect opportunity to restart the peace dialogues with said organizations”, pointed out the organizations through their communiqué.