Cordoba did so in an open letter to the ELN, the smallest of the two insurgent groups, and against the apparent will of President Juan Manuel Santos, who recently said that nobody is authorized by the Colombian government to negotiate peace with the rebel groups that are determined terrorist by both the U.S. and Europe.
However, according to Cordoba, “we believe that from now on it is very important to include in this exchange of letters the issue of the necessity of one single table of talks and negotiation for one single and national peace process.”
The former senator wrote the ELN that “given that in recent communications with you and the secretariat of the FARC-EP we have seen a total match in the approach to the dialogues and the appropriate way towards a political solution of the social and armed conflict.”
Cordoba, who was banned from Congress for her alleged ties to the FARC, proposed to first discuss the possible liberation of 98 hostages held by the ELN and the use of landmines.
The former senator proposed the illegal armed groups continue the correspondence “while the government of President Santos takes the decision to establish broader talks, which one suppose is what both parties want.”
Santos, who is on an official visit to Chile, said at a press conference that “the Colombian State has been generous and is willing to begin thos possible dialogue, always and when there is a valid and convincing demonstration — which we have not seen — that they want any type of deal.”
The FARC and ELN have been involved in an armed conflict with the State since 1964. The last time peace talks with the FARC were held openly was between 1999 and 2001 and with the ELN between 2005 and 2007.