The release, addressed to peace advocacy group Colombians for Peace, called for a “bilateral truce, based on a round table of dialogue and an agenda of political solution to the conflict” that also covered “other substantive issues, both in respect to international humanitarian law and responding to Colombians’ struggles.” The ELN also called for the international community to contribute, “its wisdom and experience.”
The letter was in response to a proposal from the Colombians for Peace, that raised the possibility of a 90-day ceasefire between the government, the ELN, and the FARC, Colombia’s largest guerrilla group. The ELN described the proposal as “a valuable contribution to the creation of a climate of humanitarian relief for the population and a contribution to the process of creating a dialogue between the insurgents and the national government.”
The ELN also criticized President Santos’ promise to reject any move towards peace that isn’t agreed upon in entirety and by all parties, calling him a warmonger and saying that his stance “blocks valuable contributions to peace in Colombia.”
The Marxist rebel group currently has about 2,500 fighters, while the FARC has more than 8,000. The FARC and ELN have been fighting the Colombian state since 1964. The Colombian conflict, stoked by paramilitary violence since the 1980s, has killed tens of thousands of Colombians and has displaced millions.