The Colombian government signed an agreement on Thursday guaranteeing the security of a Canadian citizen kidnapped by rebel group ELN on January 18th in northern Colombia.
The ELN recently agreed to release Jernoc Wobert, an engineer from Canadian firm Braewal Mining Corporation, calling on Red Cross to mediate discussions with the government. An agreement has now been reached between the humanitarian aid organization and the government.
MORE: ELN’s announcement to release Canadian hostage ‘right step towards peace talks’:Santos
“The agreement between the government and the International Committee of the Red Cross is signed and ready,” said Jorge Bedoya, Deputy Defence Minister. “Now it only depends on this terrorist group [the ELN] to say where and when [he will be handed over].”
The ELN accuses the Canadian multinational of using “deceit to snatch mining rights away from communities” and previously maintained that they would hold Wobert until all mining titles had been given up.
But since Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos made the release of the Canadian a condition for joining the peace talks currently being held with main rebel group FARC, the ELN has relaxed its stance.
FARC began peace talks with the government in November. On Friday they suspended the talks to study a proposal for a referendum on a final peace deal.
MORE: FARC suspends peace talks with Colombian government