Welcoming the announcement that formal negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) will begin later this month, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed hope that the two sides will reach a sustainable peace agreement as soon as possible.
“The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement that the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) will begin formal negotiations […], following more than two years of exploratory conversations,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.
“This is a source of encouragement to the Colombian people and all those involved in supporting a peaceful and comprehensive end to conflict,” the statement added.
“The Secretary-General hopes the Government and the ELN will work with determination to reach a sustainable peace agreement as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The announcement of the talks to begin on 27 October, in Quito, Ecuador, comes after Colombian voters last week narrowly rejected the historic peace agreement signed by the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), the largest rebel group in the South American country.
Despite the outcome of the referendum, Mr. Ban has encouraged the Government and FARC-EP to stay the course for peace with a view to end Colombia’s 50-year conflict.