Efforts to bring an end to more than 50 years of armed struggle in Colombia are bearing fruit

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Peace Council (GPC) welcomes recent developments in Colombia signalling a further consolidation of efforts at peaceful reconciliation among guerrilla movements and the Government of Colombia.

In this regard, the GPC notes that while war continues to rage in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and war drums continue to beat harder and harder on the Korean peninsula, in Colombia, efforts at bringing an end to more than fifty years of armed struggle are bearing fruit. After a third round of negotiations hours before Pope Francis arrived in Colombia, the Government of Colombia and the guerrilla group calling itself the National Liberation Front (ELN) reached agreement on a bilateral ceasefire under the theme ‘Yes We Can!’

The negotiations held in Quito, Ecuador are sponsored by six guarantor countries, namely, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Norway and Venezuela. The GPC commends the efforts of the guarantor countries towards the realization of this noble cause.

This important development comes in the wake of the recent announcement by the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), that has transformed itself from a guerrilla movement into a political party ready to contest future elections in Colombia. The FARC adopted as its new name, ‘The Revolutionary Alternative Common Force’ making it a new political party which will allow it to participate in the legal political life of Colombia after five years of negotiations in Cuba and the signing of a historic agreement in August 2016.

The ELN is the only remaining guerrilla group in Colombia. It has decided to enter into negotiations with the Colombian government to bring an end to guerrilla warfare which left 300,000 dead, 46, 000 disappeared and 7 million displaced. The ceasefire between the Colombian government and the ELN will take effect from October 1, 2017, will be valid for 102 days and will be subject to renewal as the negotiations progress.

The GPC congratulates the Government of Colombia, the FARC and ELN for the steps taken to further consolidate peace, democracy and sustainable development beneficial to the people  of Colombia. The GPC extends best wishes to the negotiating sides and wishes them every success in future negotiations.

Yours faithfully,

Clement Rohee

For Guyana Peace Council

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