News

Colombian government, ELN militants initiate peace talks

Quito, Feb 8: The Colombian government and the tiol Liberation Army (ELN) militants met on Tuesday here to open historic peace process seeking to end a five-decade-long armed conflict. The Public Dialogue Meetings for Peace took place at the Cashapamba ranch on the outskirts of Quito presided by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long and including Colombian government negotiator Juan Camilo Restrepo and ELN negotiator Pablo Beltran, Efe news reported.

Restrepo urged the ELN to renounce kidpping because “it will be very difficult to move forward” with the dialogue process if the rebels do not do so.

“Colombia, the intertiol community … and the families of those who remain kidpped by the ELN hope for this announcement very soon,” Restrepo was quoted as saying. He also emphasized that “the rights of the victims are at the center of these talks,” adding that “truth, justice, reparations and the guarantee of non-repetition are the deep and real roots of reconciliation.

The ELN’s Beltran urged the achievement of a series of “successive agreements,” and said that it will be necessary for both parties to demonstrate the willingness to make changes in their thinking and behavior. (IANS)