HomeWorldColombian government and ELN delegation resume dialogue in Caracas

Colombian government and ELN delegation resume dialogue in Caracas

The parties hope to sign the agreement that opens the participation of various sectors in the peace process.

In an environment full of expectations and tensions, the long-awaited extraordinary meeting between the delegations of the Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) began this Monday in Caracas. This meeting, scheduled until next Saturday, May 25, marks a milestone in the search for peaceful solutions in a conflict that has marked Venezuela and the region for decades.

The purpose of this meeting, as expressed in a previous statement issued by both parties, is to receive the executive report of the Participation Model, National Participation Plan and Recommendations. It is expected that this will be the first step towards signing the agreement on the first point of the dialogue agenda, which specifically refers to the participation of various sectors in the peace process.

However, despite the declared will of both parties, the atmosphere at the dialogue table remains tense, mainly due to the recent dialogues that the Government has carried out with Comuneros del Sur, a front that separated from the ELN and operates in Nariño. This situation has already caused the postponement of the seventh cycle of negotiations, initially scheduled for April 12.

The ELN's reactivation of extortion-type kidnappings has also generated concern and has added complexity to the process. Although the guerrilla justified this measure due to an alleged failure by the Government to create a multi-donor fund for the peace process, the authorities have made it clear that no resources will be allocated to this organization while it maintains its weapons.

Paola Marín, researcher of the Peace Line, Post-Conflict and Human Rights of the Peace & Reconciliation Foundation (Pares), highlighted the importance of the meeting scheduled for the 20th to the 25th of this month. This meeting, first of all, serves as a space to ratify the agreements previously reached by the National Participation Committee, being the first of the points established in the Mexico Agreements. Marín explained that this committee is crucial, since it represents the first forum in which delegates from various social organizations at the national level, as well as representatives of the ELN, are present. Likewise, she pointed out that they have been holding meetings at the local and regional level, and through this technical secretariat they have managed to prepare the document of the National Participation Committee, which was recently published.

Marín also highlighted the importance of the meeting that is taking place in Caracas, Venezuela. In addition to serving as a moment to ratify agreements, it is expected to be an opportunity to address recent crises, especially related to the issue of kidnapping. The ELN's decision to resume this practice for extortion purposes, as well as the fracture that occurred with the Frente Comuneros del Sur in Nariño, are issues of great relevance. It is expected that this meeting will be a favorable scenario to resume discussions on the treatment of communications between ELN delegations and the government.

Despite these challenges, government delegates, representatives of the guarantor countries, companions and delegates of the UN Verification Mission met this weekend in Caracas with the hope of reaching a historic agreement. Senator Iván Cepeda, Government delegate to the dialogue table, has reiterated his country's commitment to the peace process. “We hope that on May 25, for the first time, an agenda item can be signed with the ELN,” Cepeda said in statements to the media outlet W Radio.

At the heart of this negotiation is the role of civil society, whose active participation will be essential to build a future of lasting peace in the region. With the agreement that is expected to be signed, the door will be formally opened to the participation of civil society in the process until May 2025. Based on the contributions of the participants, a transformation plan will be developed that addresses the changes necessary to overcome the armed conflict.

As the next days of negotiations unfold in Caracas, the eyes of the international community will be focused on the progress of this historic meeting, which could mark the beginning of a new era of peace and reconciliation.


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