The Petro government will respond this Wednesday to the ELN, after that guerrilla denied an agreement on a bilateral ceasefire

The Communications Office of the Casa de Nariño revealed that this Wednesday the national government will deliver a statement at the Presidential Palace, after the rectification made by the ELN guerrillas by denying that there is no agreement on a bilateral cessation; decision that was adopted after the convening of an extraordinary meeting by President Gustavo Petro to evaluate this situation.

In this scenario, the national government will make an official response to the subversive groupwith which it is worth remembering that a peace process is advancing, the first cycle of which ended in Caracas (Venezuela) and the second will begin in the coming days in Mexico.

The declaration will be made by the Minister of the Interior and spokesman for the national government, Alfonso Prada, the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, and the Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez, in which it is expected that a decision will be adopted on whether to repeal or not the decree which was issued formalizing the bilateral cessation with the ELN.

Danilo Rueda, Commissioner for Peace.
Danilo Rueda, Commissioner for Peace. – Photo: Week

Another of the measures that is being analyzed and is on the table is to resume military operations against the ELN guerrillas, which remain suspended by order of the national government.

The commotion occurred after the ELN Central Command denied the president and assured that there is no agreement on a bilateral ceasefire. In a communiqué, the guerrilla group indicated that since the peace talks were restarted it became clear that decisions would be made jointly and not unilaterally.

For this reason, he indicated in the statement, the issue of the bilateral ceasefire is a proposal by President Gustavo Petro, but not an agreed decision.

“The ELN Dialogue Delegation has not discussed any proposal for a Bilateral Ceasefire with the Government of Gustavo Petro, therefore, there is still no agreement on this matter. On various occasions we have pointed out that the ELN only complies with what is discussed and agreed upon at the Dialogue Table where we participate. A unilateral government decree cannot be accepted as an agreement.” the statement noted.

When will the ceasefire be discussed with the ELN?

Otty Patiño, who is the chief peace negotiator of the national government, through a press release, acknowledged this Tuesday, January 3, that Until the second cycle of dialogues with the ELN that will take place in Mexico, the ceasefire will be addressed in depth.

“This ceasefire proposal is the first step to a new understanding and a new future. I therefore welcome the ELN’s decision to examine the terms that make a ceasefire agreement possible in the next cycle of talks.”, he pointed out in the document.

Otty Patiño is the head of the government's peace delegation for talks with the ELN.
Otty Patiño is the head of the government’s peace delegation for talks with the ELN. – Photo: WEEK

He also assured: “I am sure that our public force will live up to the constitutional mandate that establishes that peace is a duty and a mandatory right and that its raison d’être is the defense of communities and the protection of those who take advantage of this cry for a ceasefire.”

“President Gustavo Petro’s intention in declaring a bilateral ceasefire is to shorten the time for armed negotiations and stimulate the spaces for political negotiation to the maximum,” said Patiño about the progress that has been made with the ELN.

And he concluded in the statement: “In my capacity as the government’s chief negotiator with the ELN, it is my responsibility to interpret this call for a ceasefire with the main armed organizations that, from different regions, with diverse interests and with different nominations, today they exercise violence, as an order from the President to stop the killing and to be able to hear the silenced voice of the communities, of the people who, in addition to abandonment, hunger, misery, has been forced to walk the path of illegalities and hatred”.

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