Negotiators of Colombia’s government and guerrilla group ELN presented a revised peace talks agenda, which includes the possibility of an early ceasefire.
The so-called “Mexico Accord” is a revised version of the peace talks agenda initially agreed between the guerrillas and former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2017.
Apart from the ceasefire clause, the revised agreement also includes a commitment to revise Colombia’s socio-economic policies, which Santos famously rejected.
The Mexico Accord also includes a clause that would define the future of people who were jailed because of their participation in anti-government protests in 2021.
The new agenda also seeks agreement on the “eradication of all forms of paramilitarism,” which was also agreed with the FARC, the guerrilla group that demobilized and disarmed in 2017.
The warring parties maintained the agreement to actively involve non-government organizations in the formulation of an eventual peace deal.
According to government representative Dayana Domico, the warring parties agreed to gradually step up the implementation of humanitarian accords that at one point during the negotiations would allow a ceasefire.
This cessation of hostilities would initially be temporary, but implemented with the intention to come to a permanent ceasefire deal.
According to ELN representative Silvana Guerrero, the participation of citizens would be “the heart of the negotiations.”
Based on the input of non-government organization, “a diagnosis of the problems of democracy will be made to formulate basic transformations for peace and the changes that are required,” said Guerrero.
The effective participation of civilian organization in the peace talks slowed down the talks between the ELN and Santos.
Government recognizes rebels’ political nature
Ahead of the Mexico Accord, the government of President Gustavo Petro had already agreed to change the ELN’s administrative determination.
Until March 6, the guerrilla group was considered an “Organized Armed Group” (GAO), similar to paramilitary organization AGC and multiple FARC dissident organizations.
A government decree changed this formal designation to an “armed rebel organization that is engaged in negotiations and talks of a political character.”
The Petro administration formally resumed talks with the ELN in November last year after they had been suspended by former President Ivan Duque in 2018.