The Colombian government and the ELN announced today, Wednesday March 30, that they will begin the public phase of peace talks.
The talks will take place in Ecuador, and come after over two years of exploratory discussions. Ecuador, Norway and Venezuela will act as guarantor countries, supported by Chile and Cuba.
The talks will not re-address substantive issues that have already been agreed in discussions with the FARC in Havana such as the creation of a Truth Commission or the Tribunal for Peace.
Speaking from Caracas, where some of the exploratory talks have taken place over the past 26 months, the delegations said that there will be six points on the agenda:
– Society’s participation in the construction of peace
– Democracy for peace
– Transformations for peace
– End of the armed conflict
President Santos was not in Caracas for the announcement but said:
“If we reach peace, it will be an end of the guerrillas in Colombia and, therefore, in Latin America. It will be the end of the guerrillas, and we can concentrate everything on making our country – from democracy – the normal, modern, fair and inclusive nation that it can and should be. Today we move forwards – and with even more hope – towards the definitive end of the armed conflict in Colombia”