Colombia ELN rebels say peace talks stalled, request meeting, sources say

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 8:33 AM

By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian leftist rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN) has requested an extraordinary meeting with the government, saying the two sides’ peace talks are “frozen” and in a “critical state,” sources from the government and the rebel group said.

President Gustavo Petro restarted peace talks with the ELN at the end of 2022 as part of his efforts to end the country’s six-decade conflict, which has left more than 450,000 dead, by inking peace or surrender deals with armed groups.

“We do not see sufficient conditions to carry on with the usual cycle of conversations between our delegation and representatives of the national government,” the ELN said in a letter sent on Monday to Vera Grave, head of the government’s delegation.

The contents of the letter were shared by a government source, while a source from the ELN confirmed its authenticity.

“Due to the critical state of the talks, we propose inviting delegates from guarantor countries to this extraordinary meeting, so that they can exercise their role in helping both parties,” the letter said, requesting meetings begin in Venezuela from April 12.

The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin)