Colombia’s vice president said on Monday that peace talks with rebel group ELN will begin “in the coming days,” before stating that talks will be held separately from those with larger rebel group FARC.
In August, President Juan Manuel Santos said that he was ready to begin negotiations with the rebel group, after the release of Canadian miner Jernoc Wobert, who had been held captive since January 18. Indeed, Santos met last week with a peace commission regarding possible negotiations with the ELN.
“The government is currently in dialogue with the FARC in Cuba and intends to begin negotiations with the ELN in the coming days, but in a different location to Havana,” said Vice-President Angelino Garzon.
The vice president called for both the FARC and ELN to sign peace agreements this year, claiming the internal conflict had achieved nothing.
“The war in Colombia has not served any of us. It has done nothing for Colombia and nothing for the guerrillas,” said the vice president.
“The national government remains firm in its resolve to seek peace for Colombia,” added Garzon.
Rebel group FARC and the government have been involved in peace talks since November in order to seek a negotiated end to the internal conflict.
While an accord has been reached regarding land reform, no agreements have been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict and the rights of the victims.