Special Meeting of Colombia Government and ELN in Caracas Ends, Peace Talks to Continue in Mexico
Orinoco Tribune, January 22, 2023 — On Saturday, January 21, the special meeting held between the government of Colombian President Gustavo Petro and the Colombian insurgent group National Liberation Army (ELN) at the Aquiles Nazoa Cultural House in Caracas, Venezuela, came to an end. The two delegations announced that the second round of the peace talks will begin on February 13, in Mexico.
The meeting was held during January 17-21 in the Venezuelan capital. During the meeting, the two sides welcomed the formation of the Colombian Humanitarian Caravan, a body comprising representatives of the Petro government and the ELN, that listened to the needs of the victims of the armed conflict in the indigenous and Afro-descendant communities of the towns of Bajo Calima, in Valle del Cauca, and Medio San Juan, in Chocó.
The two delegations ended the meeting on Saturday urging each other and promising to respect and faithfully comply with the agreements reached so far, with the accompaniment of the guarantor countries Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, the Kingdom of Norway, and Chile.
In a statement, the government of Venezuela, the host country of the first round of dialogue that restarted the stalled negotiations between the ELN and the Colombian government, highlighted the commitment to peace that both parties have shown and welcomed the openness, sincerity, political will and transparency expressed during the meetings.
The statement, read by General Carlos Martínez Mendoza, representative of the Venezuelan government in these peace talks, reiterated Venezuela’s commitment to accompany the dialogue under the principles of solidarity, neutrality and respect for the peace process.
“The constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, on behalf of the Venezuelan people and government, deeply values the commitment to peace that the government of the Republic of Colombia and the National Liberation Army have shown in the special meeting of the Dialogue for Peace,” the statement announced.
In another statement, the guarantor countries, institutions and permanent supporters of the peace process highlighted the commitment to strengthen the dialogue between the parties and thanked Venezuela for its hospitality and efforts for the process to continue.
Hellietta González, the Mexican representative in her capacity as guarantor, announced that after the success of the extraordinary meeting held during January 17-21 in Caracas, a second round of negotiations is set to begin on February 13, and will be hosted by Mexico.
González stressed that the next round will address the issue of the participation of the Colombian society in the construction of peace, a ceasefire agreement, and will examine the achievements and difficulties derived from the implementation of the agreements reached in the first round.