Conflicts & War

Colombian gov’t, ELN rebels agree to cease-fire

Havana, Jun 9 (EFE).- Colombian President Gustavo Petro said here Friday that a cease-fire accord between his government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas puts the conflict on a path to end in the next two years.

“In May 2025 the decades-long war between the ELN and the state definitively ends,” he said after the conclusion of 35 days of talks in Havana.

Negotiators reached agreement on a plan that calls for a phased-in cessation of hostilities that is supposed to take full effect on Aug. 3 and last for 180 days.

A member of the government delegation, Sen. Ivan Cepeda, said that by May 2025, the two sides are supposed to have achieved consensus on the first three elements of the six-point peace agenda: participation, democracy, and transformations.

That outcome would allow Petro, Colombia’s first leftist president, to conclude his term by making peace with the last remaining major insurgency in Latin America.

The peace agenda, which emerged from a previous round of discussions in Mexico, also envisions resolving the question of justice for victims of the conflict.

Petro, himself a veteran of the long-defunct M-19 rebel group, has made the achievement of “total peace” the theme of his administration.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), at its peak the largest guerrilla army in Latin America, made peace in 2016 with the government of conservative President Juan Manual Santos, though some dissident fighters rejected the pact and refused to lay down their arms.

The Catholic Church and the United Nations are to monitor compliance with the cease-fire. EFE ime-jce-jpr/dr

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