By Celestino Barrera
This October 27, in Quito, Ecuador, negotiations will start between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army ( @ELN_Paz)(ELN). The first topics to be discussed will be the participation of civil society in building peace, and the related topic of humanitarian accords for peace.
Negotiations will begin with the issue of civil society participation in peace building. This point, agreed upon by both parties, is essential to the ELN — a guerrilla group with a large civil society base and which functions like an armed political party in many ways—as well as to the government which must create guarantees for civil society participation in politics without fear of violence. In order to realize this goal, the parties will convene representatives of all sectors of civil society including the elite, with representatives of professional associations, bankers, large landowners and business leaders as well as activists and party leaders.
The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, expressed support and joy with the people of Colombia apropos of these new peace talks: Formal peace talks between the Colombian government and ELN.Great news
..conversaciones formales de paz entre gobierno colombiano y ELN.
Gran noticia, porque demuestra que, pese al resultado del 2 de octubre,…
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) 11 de octubre de 2016
The agreed agenda to start dialogues:
These dialogues are resuming after the release of three persons detained by the ELN. The Colombian people expect the ELN will release two others still being held before talks start in Quito, Ecuador.
This public phase of negotiations was announced on March 30 in Caracas. However, the government of Colombia waited for the end of their peace talks with the FARC. Activists, academics, students, labor unions, farmers, neighborhood organizations, victims and human rights organizations pressured the government to start negotiations with the ELN immediately.
This public pressure along with the failure of the plebiscite to endorse the agreements reached between the government and the FARC in Havana led to President Juan Manuel Santos, recently awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, to begin peace talks with the ELN guerrillas.
The government of Colombia has yet to begin talks with the People’s Liberation Army (EPL), a military-political organization with about 300 armed men, that since 2012 has been seeking an opportunity to negotiate peace with the government.
Today the Colombian social movement proposes a national dialogue to build a complete peace with the active participation of social and political organizations in peace negotiations: the slogan is Complete Paz singing #ElGranDialogoEsAhora
By Celestino Barrera A