Colombia to restart peace dialogue with ELN rebels

In an official statement the Colombian President and Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos will soon start the peace talks with the rebels of National Liberation Army (ELN) after the last deal stood rejected by the voters in a referendum. The negotiations to work out a new deal will begin on October 27 at Quito-the capital of Ecuador as per the agreement signed by the both the factions in Caracas under the aegis of Venezuela’s government.

Santos reiterated his faith in the peace process and stated that Colombia continues to grow despite the adversities and the peace will prevail under all circumstances. President expressed faith that the new deal will be stronger and lasting. It is internationally hoped that the new deal will open doors to complete peace in the nation. The President had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to bring an end to a 52-year old war with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. This has given a new boost to the on-going peace initiatives. Government had earlier rejected the peace negotiations with the ELN unless the latter had freed all the hostages. ELN had taken an oath to free all the hostages before October 27.

The group had handed over the latest hostage named Nelson Alarcon in a far corner of Arauca on the Venezuelan border. The deadly conflict has so far taken 2,60,000 lives, left about 45,000 missing and over seven million have been uprooted. Both the leftist guerilla groups FARC and ELN have been at war with the government since 1964. ELN with a  fighter strength of about 1500 is only one-fourth the size of the FARC. The peace talks with ELN will be held formally and spell another era of peace in the nation and another laurel to the President. FARC has also promised all support  and solidarity with ELN and expressed hope that peace will prevail as many doors to the same have started to open. The talks will bring an end to the oldest civil conflicts in the Americas.