Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the announced start of peace talks between the Government of Colombia and representatives of the National Liberation Army (ELN), and encouraged all parties to remain committed to the pursuit of peace in the country.
The Secretary-General hopes that this new development “will contribute to ending the hemisphere’s longest armed conflict and to building sustainable peace for the Colombian people,” his spokesperson said.
Today’s announcement follows a peace agreement between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Some 600,000 people have died since the conflict between the country’s authorities and the FARC began in the 1960s.
In November, after talks in Havana, Cuba, authorities and FARC representatives released a joint statement saying a deal had been reached leading the rebel group to disarm and to form a political movement. It also included provisions for enhancing the role of women, which Mr. Ban also welcomed.
The two sides are working to end the long-running conflict through full implementation of the General Agreement for the End of the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, signed two years ago. In the past month, they also agreed to work together to combat drug trafficking.