Government-ELN agreements, a milestone this week in Colombia


An article from Prensa Latina (translation from Prensa Latina English – first five paragraphs – and by CPNN – rest of article)

The agreements between the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the third cycle of dialogues in Havana became a significant issue this week for the country and Latin America.

This Friday (June 9), at noon from Havana, Cuba, the parties formalized the bilateral ceasefire agreement, which will last 180 days (six months).

This new pact expands prohibited actions and provides for a robust UN monitoring and verification mechanism, with the accompaniment of the Catholic Church and social oversight, as well as the participation of the guarantor and accompanying countries.

This ceasefire will also allow the territories to have the conditions of tranquility required by the people and communities in the process of participation of society in the construction of peace that has been agreed upon during this cycle.

For the first time, the State and the ELN reached an agreement that implies the block treatment of the first three points of the Mexico Agreement, where the second cycle of talks took place; the participation of society in the construction of peace, democracy for peace and transformations for peace, Senator Iván Cepeda said.

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The agreed cessation has progressive phases. The first, enlistment, is immediate. Then, on July 6, the end of offensive operations begins until reaching full validity, of 180 days, as of August 3, while monitoring and verification will begin soon.

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A National Participation Committee will also be created, which will have the participation of 30 sectors of society to contribute to the transformation of the country and the achievement of Peace.

“We reached a partial agreement with the ELN like never before, which will be progressive until the final agreement in May 2025,” said President Petro.

The priority will be to achieve the protection of the civilian population in the conflict areas, starting with children, he added.

The head of state assured that human rights and international humanitarian law guide the agreement. He stressed that the participation of society will be fundamental, as well as the proposal for a great National Agreement that his government supports.

The parties thanked Cuba for its role as guarantor and for facilitating its territory to reach these agreements that will alleviate the communities affected by the internal conflict.

“The main effort in this process we owe to Cuba. Without that effort it would be impossible to be here,” said ELN commander Antonio García, at the closing of the Third Cycle of the Dialogue Table.

Likewise, Pablo Beltrán (the ELN negotiator) assured that the inclusion of Cuba on the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism is an injustice, while he thanked the Cuban government and people for their vocation for peace.

President Petro also described the inclusion of Cuba on that list as a profound injustice.

“I was telling President (Joe) Biden that if there has been an act of profound diplomatic injustice… a stab in the back… it was that Cuba ended up in that abject designation. From here I tell President Biden that this act of injustice must be amended, “he stressed.

Prior to this agreement, considered a milestone in Colombia, and one of the most significant achievements within the Total Peace policy of the Government of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez, a forceful mobilization of the people took place in support of the mandate of both leaders and their change proposals.