Wave of Violence Strikes Colombia After ELN Ceasefire Ends

Wave of Violence Strikes Colombia After ELN Ceasefire Ends

ELN rebels have started their attacks on oil pipelines and authorities just hours after the ceasefire ended.

The warring parties agreed to continue negotiating a new ceasefire in support of peace talks that began in February a year ago.

Santos ordered his chief negotiator back to Bogota after the attacks, however, to weigh the future of a process that began early last year in a bid to end more than 53 years of fighting.

Colombian Vice-President Oscar Naranjo Trujillo told the council that "the government is not walking away from peace" and has called urgent talks to salvage the ceasefire.

In a statement released late Thursday, the Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry said the guarantor nations - including Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela and Norway - attested that "the two parties have expressed their willingness to overcome this moment and continue the conversations conducive to peace".

In a report to the council last month, Guterres said that a "significant number" of FARC rebels "have joined illegal or dissident groups" as a result of a "growing frustration with the lack of opportunities".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Colombia at the weekend as peace efforts in the South American country come under strain from fresh ELN attacks and a faltering drive to reintegrate FARC rebels. The government said the attack led to the suspension of operations. But peace is reached with will and concrete facts of peace. The ELN has said it will not extend the truce under the original terms and wants a new deal.

The attacks threaten future negotiations for peace but the negotiator of the group said the attacks happened in complex situations of war. "If there's a positive response, the ELN delegation will remain in Quito", Beltran said.

In the agreement between the two sides three months ago, the rebels agreed to stop their attacks while the government promised to improve the conditions of the rebels that are in jail. Dissidency from a 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Army Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) continues to be a major concern, and the ELN's more fractured command structure would likely add to that problem.

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