The first five days of a ceasefire with Colombia’s last-standing guerrilla group ELN have gone by without incident, according to the government.
The national government’s chief negotiator, Juan Camilo Restrepo, made the announcement from Quito where government and guerrilla representatives have been negotiating peace since February.
En cinco días de cese al fuego con el ELN no ha habido ningún incidente hasta ahora.
— Juan Camilo Restrepo (@RestrepoJCamilo) October 5, 2017
The United Nations Security council on Thursday also approved a request by the government and the ELN to monitor the ceasefire that was announced in September.
The international organization is already in Colombia to monitor a peace process with the now-demobilized FARC group, and agreed to monitor the new ceasefire with the ELN together with the Catholic Church.
For the first time since its creation in 1964, the ELN is upholding a bilateral ceasefire with the government.
As part of the agreement, the guerrillas agreed not only to end hostilities targeting security forces and public property, but also stop kidnapping and the recruitment of minors.
The FARC’s demobilization and disarmament and the ceasefire with the ELN effectively suspends the armed conflict that has crippled the country for more than half a century.
The progress in both peace processes have not ended political violence in the country, however.
The military has been unable to assume control over former FARC territory in a timely manner, allowing other illegal armed groups to fill the power vacuum left in areas abandoned by what used to be the country’s largest guerrilla organization.
Over the past week, the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos has been reprimanded over its failures to implement the peace deal by the UN, the country’s top human rights office and a former negotiator.
Talks with the ELN have been complicated by the ongoing violence that has primarily targeted community leaders and leftist thought leaders, spurring fears of a repetition of a political genocide that undid peace efforts made with the FARC in the 1980s.