Uruguay President Jose Mujica has moved from words to deeds in his involvement with the Colombian peace talks and is reportedly interested in hosting peace talks with rebel group ELN.
Colombian newspaper El Espectador reported on Monday that Mujica, who has previously met with the FARC peace delegation in Cuba, has offered Uruguay as a potential location for peace talks with leftist-guerrilla group ELN.
The potential for peace talks with the ELN comes after the guerrillas released Canadian hostage Jernoc Wobert. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has always insisted that peace talks could not take place if the ELN continued to hold hostages and kidnap people.
En los próximos días será puesto en libertad el ciudadano canadiense Jernoc Wobert. https://t.co/469yGl7Myz
— ELN (@ELN_Colombia) August 19, 2013
The recent news of his imminent release was welcomed by Santos, who said that the ELN were taking the right steps towards peace.
Celebramos que ELN anuncie la liberación del ciudadano canadiense secuestrado. He dado instrucciones para facilitar esa liberación.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) August 19, 2013
Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter himself, confirmed that he had met with the FARC delegation on his recent trip to Cuba. He also confirmed that he spoke at length with the brothers Fidel and Raul Castro about the importance of successful peace talks for the future of Latin America.
The Uruguayan president offered his country in the capacity of a guarantor or mediator for future possible peace talks with the ELN. He has recently told other member states of the Mercosur group – Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay – that peace in Colombia is crucial for the whole region.
Colombian media reports that Mujica has also raised his ambitions and hopes for peace in Colombia with Pope Francis, asking the former Argentinian cardinal to help “in any way he can.”
- La Liberación del Geólogo Canadiense [Comunicado N.9] (ELN voices)
- José Mujica y su apuesta por la paz (El Espectador)