Bogotá, Oct 6 (EFE).- The delegations of the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) opened Friday in Bogotá the first meeting to define civil society participation in the peace negotiation with this guerrillas.
A hundred people from communities and alternative media met with the two negotiating parties on Friday in a Bogotá hotel to “to define the participation of society,” according to ELN negotiator Víctor Orlando Cubides, known as “Aurealiano Carbonell.”
“The heart of this peace process is the participation of society, a society that establishes which are the basic transformations that enable a context of peace and changes in the country,” assured the guerrilla chief.
This long process officially began on August 2 with the inauguration of the National Participation Committee (CNP), followed by thirty nationwide meetings, that are on their first stages, to listen to different sectors’ participation models.
“We are in a process that has among its components 30 meetings that will allow about 6,000 people to help us think about the design of the participation of millions of Colombians. We want to start with this exercise to move from words to deeds”, said Senator Iván Cepeda, a member of the Government delegation in the negotiations, during the opening ceremony of the meeting.
This is because the first three points of the peace agreement that is being negotiated – which has a total of six – deals with the participation of society in the construction of peace, because local communities will benefit from the agreement.
“We hope this participation process will occur in 2024 and part of 2025. It will be society itself that will diagnose what the basic problems of the country are and at the same time propose a series of transformations that will lead to a peace agreement,” Carbonell explained.
Good functioning of the ceasefire The day the CNP (made up of 81 people from 30 sectors who will lead the meetings) was installed, on August 2, a 180-day bilateral ceasefire also came into effect, the longest agreed with the guerrillas.
“The ceasefire is going well,” detailed today to the media “Aureliano Carbonell,” who assured that it is being respected in terms of hostilities between public forces and guerrilla (as dictated by the ceasefire agreement).
“The problem is that there are many sectors that want to sabotage this ceasefire and have unleashed an offensive in many territories,” added the guerrilla chief, in line with the denunciations made by the ELN in the last weeks of a paramilitary offensive in the territories.
So far, there have been no severe allegations of agreement violations. However, the first detailed report from the UN-led Ceasefire Monitoring and Verification Mechanism will be released on November 3. EFE