The supreme commander of Colombia’s second largest guerrilla force ELN said Monday that his guerrilla organization is holding preliminary peace talks with the government.
In an interview with radio station La FM, ELN commander “Gabino” said that “our response has been positive and therefore we highlight our desire for peace and to develop the dialogues for peace.”
“It is necessary to find a bloodless departure to achieve the cessation of social and armed conflict,” said Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, known as “Gabino.”
Gabino also stated that the ELN wants a bilateral ceasefire with authorities unlike the unilateral ceasefire that the FARC announced in November.
“Negotiating in war is very complicated. We want the development of the dialogues to be achieved in a climate of peace because that would give the country and areas living in the crudest parts of war confidence to the process, that would be the most important. It is better to establish a bilateral ceasefire.”
Surprisingly however, Gabino expressed his confidence in the government, “of course we trust the government,” he stated in reference to President Juan Manuel Santos approaching the ELN in peace dialogues.
The ELN Commander also discussed the need for pre-agreed upon conditions before entering peace talks with Colombian authorities, “in order to avoid any difficulty in the beginning of a door to peace.”
Media reported last week that the government had approached the ELN with the prospect of peace negotiations. Exploratory peace talks with the ELN will allegedly start in December.