Colombia’s government is refusing to meet its international commitments, insisting that President Ivan Duque can end peace talks with ELN guerrillas without allowing rebel leaders reunite with their troops.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo that it will fulfill its commitments and facilitate the return of ELN peace negotiators as agreed with Colombia’s previous head of state, former President Juan Manuel Santos.
In the peace process between the government of Colombia and the ELN, Norway, at the request of the Colombian government, accepted to assume the role of guarantor country. Norway values and takes very seriously this responsibility and the trust granted to us. In the exercize of this role, Norway, together with Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador, signed several documents, including the the “Protocol in case of a rupture of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government – ELN,” in which the signatories assume certain commitments in the event of interruption or official end of the conversations. As a facilitator and consistent guarantor, Norway must fulfill its commitments.
Norway’s Foreign Ministry
The ELN has implicitly acknowledged that it carried out a terrorist attack that killed 21 people and injured 68 in Bogota last week. Duque implicitly broke off talks on Friday.
Following the attack on the General Santander police academy, the president and his foreign minister have refused to acknowledge their government’s international commitments and have asked the government of Cuba, the host country of the talks, to arrest and extradite ELN peace negotiators.
The Cuban government has refused to do this and said that, like Norway, it will respect the rupture protocol that obligates all parties to allow ELN peace negotiators to safely reunite with their troops.
The Norwegian government’s announcement is a major diplomatic blow for Duque and Trujillo, who responded that Bogota refuses to acknowledge its international commitments and in particularly the agreed protocols to allow ELN leaders to return to Colombia.
“Norway is an ally, and deserves the utmost respect and consideration, and on this point we differ. The government of Present Duque does not recognize those protocols.”
Foreign minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo
According to Trujillo, the government can ignore state obligations because the current administration “never signed any protocol with the ELN.”
House Representative Juanita Goebertus, (Green Alliance) said the government was lying and pointed out that no head of state can exempt himself from from meeting state obligations.
The refusal of the Colombian government to comply with its commitments could further damage the country’s already shaky international reputation, make future peace talks impossible and threaten a peace process with the FARC that was also signed by Santos on behalf of the state.