In an open letter to the peace negotiations, Colombia’s third largest guerrilla group, the EPL, announced its intentions to join the peace dialogues currently underway between the government and two other guerrilla groups.
The Colombian guerrilla group sent a letter titled “Clamor for Peace” to the Colombian government declaring its intention to join in a peace process with the government, praising the recent announcement of peace dialogues from the second-largest rebel group, the ELN.
The letter, which appeared in Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, praised the efforts towards peace, also calling on President Juan Manuel Santos to declare a bilateral cease fire.
“We jointly insist [with the Colombian people], in the popular clamor for an immediate, bilateral cease-fire and the thorough application of International Humanitarian Rights to immediately detain the spilling of blood, and to increase credibility to a common agenda towards peace that does not involve government-guerrilla dialogues,” read the statement.
The EPL (Ejercito Popular de Liberación — Popular Liberation Army), currently Colombia’s third largest rebel group operating as a small dissident faction, was founded in the 1970s as a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group. The group slowly gained strength, but officially demobilized with several other guerrilla groups in the 1991 peace process.
The EPL has admitted to drug trafficking for funds, but states that it hasn’t lost its ideology since its last push for peace talks was announced by leader alias “Megateo” last year.
Negotiations with the FARC, the largest Colombian rebel group, have been underway since November 2012, and are a contentious issue in any Colombian political debate. The Colombian government announced its initiation of peace negotiations with the country’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, four days before the second round of presidential elections in June of this year. No announcement has been made with to the respect of peace dialogues with the ELN since.
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