QUITO – The head of the Colombian government delegation in the dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN), Juan Camilo Restrepo, expressed general satisfaction on Friday with the completion of the first month of the ceasefire.
However, according to a government statement, “the situation in Choco continues to be a major concern.”
Restrepo reiterated the conviction that compliance with the bilateral ceasefire represents “enormous” humanitarian relief for the communities most affected by the armed conflict.
He condemned the homicide of the indigenous governor Aulio Isarama Forastero, as well as the kidnappings of Jhon Eriberto Isarama Forastero and William Balmaceda Neira.
The delegation chief noted that on Thursday the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported the harassment and forced displacement that has taken place in recent days of the Embera community.
Restrepo added that the murder of the indigenous governor has generated understandable discomfort and resentment between the indigenous communities of Choco and also in public opinion.
He stressed the importance of having a delegate of the ELN’s Western War front in the dialogue and insisted on the need for the ELN to continue strengthening the coordination and prevention of the monitoring mechanisms and verification.
The Colombian government and the ELN began the discussion forum on Feb. 7 in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, a dialogue aimed at ending the confrontation that has raged for more than 52 years.