The European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states on Thursday urged the Colombian government and rebel group ELN to formalize peace talks “as soon as possible.”
In a joint declaration, the two international organizations said their member states “hope that the formal talks between the Government of Colombia and the ELN will start as soon as possible.”
Talks between the country’s second largest rebel group and the government were announced in June, but have since failed to formalize.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the ELN have been meeting in an undisclosed location for exploratory talks they hope to formalize and eventually lead to a peace agreement between the parties that have been at war since 1964.
The Santos administration formalized peace talks with the FARC, the country’s largest rebel organization, in August 2012 after which negotiations began in Cuba to seek a political solution for the armed conflict that has left more than 260,000 Colombians dead and more than 6 million refugees.
“We encourage the Colombian government and the FARC-EP to make their best efforts to conclude these negotiations as soon as possible and we express our readiness to provide assistance to support the implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement,” the organizations said.
During the summit, the European Union announced the creation of a trust fund for a post-conflict peace process if the FARC and the government are able to agree to end the more than 5 decades of violence.
Additionally, the EU said to contribute $29.2 million to economically stimulate communities in the war-torn Pacific and Caribbean coastal regions, and a demining project that seeks to remove the tens of thousands of landmines and other explosives spread across Colombia as a result of the decades-long war.