The National Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN) has published an open letter
to Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, proposing that he, as the
current head of UNASUR, mediate a peace process for the internal
Ecuador has held the rotating presidency of UNASUR (United South American Nations) since August.
The letter, dated 25 August and published on Monday on the ELN website, was signed by Central Command, the highest leadership of this insurgent organisation.
The ELN “supports the efforts of all those who today are working for outlets for peace, [to solve] conflicts between sister nations and within each country.
“We join [you] on this path, that you and other Latin American leaders are heading at this moment, and we therefore ask UNASUR to assist [us in finding] a political solution to Colombia’s internal conflict.”
The guerrillas add that “the prolonged social and armed conflict that is consuming Colombia demands Latin American support in order to find a political solution, as competing interests are very great. The conflict is aggravated by continuous U.S. interference.”
The ELN is considered the second-largest guerilla force in the country after the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia on 3 March 2008 due to a Colombian military attack on a FARC commandpost located within Ecuador, not far from the border.
During an extraordinary UNASUR summit held in Argentina on 28 August, President Correa and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, expressed their desire to work together for peace in Colombia despite being vocal critics of the government of President Alvaro Uribe.
Bogota maintains that any peace negotiations will require the vital condition that the guerillas cease activities such as kidnappings and armed attacks.