Colombia to restart peace talks with insurgents ELN, FARC
Colombia is expected to resume peace talks with the FARC and the ELN over their armed insurgency, the last major armed group to be part of a peace agreement with the government.
A group of US senators wrote to President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday, calling on the country to engage the insurgents once again.
The country, which has been engaged for years in talks with the FARC and the ELN, is expected to meet again with the two rebel groups for talks on December 21.
The peace talks, which were frozen in 2011, finally restarted last year after a previous resumption of negotiations between the government and the FARC collapsed in September 2014.
After the last round of peace talks in September 2014 failed, Santos brokered a deal with the FARC and the ELN that saw them enter into a so-called “state of transition”, which they said they had to reach before they could have talks with the government.
It was a deal which critics of the government believe is a ruse that the FARC and ELN will use to restart their armed insurgency, which has left more than 220,000 people dead in nearly three decades of fighting.
But in the end, the peace accord will not be put to the test, as the government is not obliged to hold the peace talks while the ELN and the FARC continue their armed insurgency in the country, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
The deal stipulated that the armed groups would be allowed to keep arms and would be allowed to train their militias in the country, the foreign ministry said.
The rebels, whose ranks are still far from full strength, have vowed to resist any attempt to disarm them if they return to the negotiating table with the government, as they have done before.
Many believe the peace process, which has been delayed for years, is in limbo because of the rebels’