Maduro: Venezuela agrees to be guarantor of Colombia peace talks

Caracas, Sep 13 (EFE).- Venezuela’s president said Tuesday he accepts a request from his Colombian counterpart to be “guarantor of the negotiations and peace agreements” in Colombia with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

“(To) President Gustavo Petro and to Colombia we say: Venezuela accepts the character of guarantor of the negotiations and peace agreements between Colombia and the ELN and we will put our best will, in the name of God the almighty father, for the total peace of Colombia,” Nicolás Maduro said on the state channel Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).

The leader claimed that on Monday he received the request in a letter from President Gustavo Petro and that he is willing “once again” to participate in the negotiation process.

He added that in this mission he will carry “the voice of all of Venezuela” and of “the 6,200,000 Colombians” who live in his country.

“Venezuela is committed to peace, security and stability in Colombia, and the peace of Colombia is the peace of Venezuela, it is the peace of South America – it is the peace of the entire continent,” he stressed.

The oil nation was the guarantor of the peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana between 2012 and 2016 and, according to previous Colombian governments, the ELN and other illegal armed groups take refuge in the country.

But, since his recent election, former guerrilla fighter Petro resumed relations with Venezuela and proposed “total peace,” an ambitious goal with which he seeks to negotiate with the groups operating outside the law in the country and achieve an agreement like that reached with the FARC.

For the moment, progress has been made on the decision to resume negotiations with the ELN, although Petro says he has received letters from criminal gangs wanting to join the process. With the ELN, the government seeks to negotiate a peace agreement, while it will offer the gangs submission to justice. EFE


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