BOGOTÁ- The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, expressed this Wednesday his support for the peace talks between Colombia and the ELN guerrillas, which are in the process of reactivation after almost 4 years suspended.
During an official visit to Bogotá, Sánchez offered “Spain’s unequivocal and resounding support for efforts to build peace in Colombia.”
“From there, it has to be the parties that decide what role each of the countries should play, but we certainly show that willingness,” said the head of government at the end of a joint statement with his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro. .
Petro, who replied that “he would love” for Spain to be one of the guarantors of the dialogue, assured that he will take Sánchez’s offer of support to the ELN, which together with his government have already expressed their intention to set up a new negotiating table from Havana. .
“We’ll see the counterpart’s response, which until now is in its own consultations,” added the first leftist to come to power in Colombia.
The ELN negotiating delegation in Cuba “has been without communication for 4 years” with the militants of the organization in Colombia, which, according to Petro, has delayed the resumption of talks.
“What we have done is precisely to allow communication so that (…) we enter into a negotiation process,” said the president.
On the other hand, Sánchez, who began a tour of Latin America in Bogotá that will also take him to Ecuador and Honduras, expressed his intention to hold “a summit between the European Union and Latin America in the second half of next year.”
“It has not been held since 2015, it is not justified,” he emphasized.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos, who negotiated peace with the FARC in Havana, also began talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in 2017 to end an armed uprising that lasted almost six decades.
However, his successor Iván Duque buried them two years later after an attack on a police school that left 22 dead, in addition to the aggressor.
Although the peace pact that demobilized the FARC in 2017 eased political violence, Colombia is experiencing a sharp upsurge in violence due to armed groups that profit from drug trafficking and illegal mining.