|“I want to tell the country that this large and popular front is working so that by 15 June, the Army of National Liberation ELN, take the decision with the government together to begin the work table and discuss the ideopolitics of this group.”|
The ex-senator and leader of the leftist movement Marcha Patriotica said that Juan Manuel Santos and ELN are close to initiating a peace process and a unilateral ceasefire, La Vanguardia newspaper reported.
PROFILE: Piedad Cordoba
Cordoba, the controversial leftist politician who is barred from holding public office over her alleged links to guerrilla groups, said that she is optimistic that Colombia’s government and the country’s second largest rebel group will commence a peace process before the second round of presidential elections later this month.
“I want to tell the country that this large and popular front is working so that by 15 June, the ELN take the decision with the government together to begin the work table and discuss the ideopolitics of this group,” said Cordoba.
The first round of elections, held on May 25 failed to produce a winner with over 50% of the vote required to avoid a second round. This round will be contested between incumbent President and U candidate Juan Manuel Santos, and CD candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
Juan Manuel Santos gained the support of leftist organizations in the latest round by promising that his government will continue carrying on the peace process.
Cordoba is one of the leftist leaders who joined the re-election campaign of Juan Manuel Santos in the second round in order to support the peace process.
Peace talk between government and the country’s largest insurgency FARC started in 2012 and the two parts have recently reached an agreement to end all illicit drug operations as part of the peace talks process. But there are more points still to be negoiated.
The ELN has repeatedly expressed their desire for peace talks, but as recently as April, the leader of the ELN said the government “did not want talks.”
In spite of being the rebel group to negotiate a peace process, FARC are not the only insurgency in Colombia. Juan Manuel Santos expressed his hope to initiate dialogs with the second largest rebel group ELN, in case of being re-elected in the second round.
Piedad Cordoba confirmed the possibility of the government negotiating with ELN saying that “There is much progress in the discussion of the talks in Havana as well as in the search for the ELN can also be part of what it means progress in ending the conflict.”