Colombia: Ceasefire between the Government and the ELN guerrilla group

The Colombian Government and the ELN have today agreed on a temporary bilateral ceasefire. ‘I would like to congratulate the Colombian Government and the ELN on this important ceasefire. It shows that both parties have a real desire to find joint solutions to the protracted conflict. I hope this will be the first step towards a lasting ceasefire and a definitive peace agreement,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The ceasefire will enter into force on 1 October and will last until 9 January 2018. The peace negotiations between the ELN guerrilla group and the Colombian Government started in Quito in February after several years of confidential talks. Norway is playing the same role in this process as in the peace negotiations with the Farc, which resulted in a final peace agreement in November last year. The other guarantor countries in the process are Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Both parties were aiming to achieve a temporary bilateral ceasefire during this round of negotiations. They have worked hard to have an agreement ready before Pope Francis visits Colombia this week. The ceasefire agreement will be particularly important to civilians in the conflict-affected areas.

‘A peace agreement with the ELN is essential to achieve sustainable peace in Colombia. The ceasefire is an important step towards this goal. The Farc combatants have already laid down their arms, and the group has transformed itself into a political party, in line with the peace agreement. It is a political priority for Norway to support both the peace negotiations with the ELN and the implementation of the peace agreement with the Farc. So this is a good day for Norway too,’ said the Foreign Minister. 

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