BOGOTA – National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas announced on Sunday a 12-day ceasefire for the Christmas holiday season beginning Dec. 23, and urged the Colombian government to resume peace talks.
“We will halt offensive operations from Dec. 23, 2018 to Jan. 3, 2019 to contribute towards an atmosphere of peace during Christmas and the New Year,” the ELN’s central command said in a statement posted on Twitter.
During the peace talks at Quito last year, the Colombian government and the ELN agreed on a bilateral ceasefire that lasted 101 days, from Oct. 1, 2017 to Jan. 9, 2018, to create favorable conditions for progressing towards a peace treaty, which allowed people to enjoy a peaceful festive season.
With the ceasefire already having expired, in recent weeks the ELN has carried out attacks on the police as well as oil and transport infrastructure in different parts of the country.
In its recent message, the guerrilla group said it wanted to continue with peace talks that began in Feb. 2017, and urged President Ivan Duque to move ahead in this regard.
The talks have been suspended since Aug. 1 after the sixth round of negotiations with the earlier government concluded in Cuba.
Duque, who came to power in August, has said that for peace talks to resume, the ELN would have to give up its criminal activities, especially kidnapping, and free all captives.
However, neither of the conditions was addressed in the statement by the guerrillas.