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Colombian Government Begins Talks with ELN as Peace Process Advances

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80236
Category/Department: Colombia
Date: 2017-03-10
By: Andrés Gaudín

After securing a peace deal with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas (NotiSur, Jan. 6, 2017), the Colombian government now hopes to do the same with the smaller Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). The two sides have already made a number of generous overtures but face continued opposition from a pro-war political faction. To stop the more than half-century-long civil war from ending, the rightist Centro Democrático (CD)—led by Álvaro Uribe, a senator and former president (2002-2010)—launched a campaign to discredit the peace process abroad and, on the home front, prevent legislative approval of peace accords that have been or are yet to be signed. In Washington, Rex Tillerson, the new US secretary of state, acknowledged before the Senate that Colombia is a privileged ally. But he also warned that President Donald Trump would review his predecessor’s policies, casting doubt on a promise by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) to provide Colombia US$450 million for post-conflict expenditures.Further proof of the complexity of the situation in Colombia came from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which revealed on Jan. 26 that in addition to the 64 campesino (agrarian worker) leaders and humanitarian activists killed in 2016, another 14 had lost their lives in just the first two weeks of this year.

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