Colombia govt and ELN rebels resume hostilities as ceasefire ends

Colombia paralyzes dialogue with ELN after new guerrilla attacks

Colombia paralyzes dialogue with ELN after new guerrilla attacks

The negotiator representing the rebels said the group had followed the ceasefire and that the two sides had agreed to evaluate a new deal after the first one was over.

In the days after the January 9 end of a three-month ceasefire between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN), multiple attacks, including the killing of a soldier and the bombing of a pipeline, have been attributed to the guerrillas. "Inexplicably, the ELN not only refused, but resumed its terrorist attacks this morning, just the day on which the new cycle of negotiations", Santos said Wednesday in a statement to the country.

The ELN has accused the military of colluding with the AGC, a paramilitary group that has been combating the guerrillas in western Colombia. But he said in light of the latest attacks it is "too early to venture a sense of what the future holds in terms of the situation on the ground and at the negotiating table".

The members of the Security Council echoed the Secretary-General's concern about increased insecurity in some of the areas affected by the conflict, welcomed the important efforts by the Government of Colombia to address these concerns, as well as steps to address other issues including access to land, and looked forward to their swift implementation. "I think that our government has demonstrated to the entire world that we, in particular our president, are proponents and champions of peace".

Peace talks with the smaller ELN, whose founders in the 1960s included radical Roman Catholic priests, began last February. But peace is reached with will and concrete facts of peace.

Under the temporary agreement, the 1,500-member ELN pledged to renounce hostage-taking, recruitment of minors and attacks on infrastructure.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Colombia at the weekend as peace efforts in the South American country come under strain from fresh ELN attacks and a faltering drive to reintegrate FARC rebels. The government in turn vowed to improve conditions for jailed rebels as well as boost protections for leftist activists in areas dominated by the ELN.

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