Colombia suspends ceasefire with ELN rebel group
The Colombian government announces the suspension of a ceasefire with the armed group National Liberation Army (ELN), which rejected any such agreement.
Colombia called off a ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels on Wednesday, after the group declared its rejection of any such ceasefire with the government.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro said on New Year's Eve that a temporary truce had been reached with the country's five main armed factions, including the ELN that would last from January 1 until June 30.
The administration later stated that the international community-lauded truce will be supervised by the UN, Colombia's human rights ombudsman, and the Catholic Church.
"Under this understanding, the Colombian government declared the bilateral ceasefire," Interior Minister Alfonso Prada told journalists, adding, "In view of the position taken yesterday (by the ELN), advising that a ceasefire agreement should be taken up at the negotiating table, we have decided to suspend the Dec 31, 2022 decree and address it in the next round of talks."
"El Gobierno de Colombia decretó el cese bilateral. Sin embargo, ante la posición asumida públicamente el día de ayer por el ELN, hemos decidido suspender los efectos jurídicos del Decreto 2657 del 31 de diciembre del 2022": Ministro @alfonsoprada. pic.twitter.com/BN6U8DprIh— Presidencia Colombia 🇨🇴 (@infopresidencia) January 4, 2023
"Only when we have the conditions of the protocols totally agreed can we lift the suspension," he said.
Prada said the government's initial ceasefire announcement came following a request by the National Liberation Army in December after the group agreed to abide by a unilateral ceasefire from December 24 to January 2 in the holiday season.
"We invite this organization to declare a verifiable truce in response to the imperative call of ethnic and peasant communities to maintain a bilateral ceasefire and non-violence in their territories," he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Interior Minister Alfonso Prada stated that ceasefires remained in effect with the other four groups: FARC dissidents known as the Estado Mayor Central, Segunda Marquetalia, the Clan del Golfo, and the Sierra Nevada Self-Defenses.
Since taking office in 2022, Petro, Colombia's first left-wing President, proposed a "comprehensive peace" policy that includes the country's various armed factions to end more than 50 years of fighting that has killed millions of people.
Petro's government stated that it will negotiate peace treaties or surrender arrangements with armed factions of all stripes.