Armando Benedetti sent a warning to the ELN: “I hope they understand that it is the only and last moment to negotiate”

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The Colombian ambassador also pointed out that it is likely that Venezuela is not the only venue for negotiations with this armed guerrilla group

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Armando Benedetti sent a warning to the ELN: “I hope they understand that this is the only and last moment to negotiate”

Armando Benedetti, Colombian ambassador to Venezuela, assured that the ELN should take into account that this may be their last chance to negotiate with a government. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

This November 21, talks will resume between the government led by Gustavo Petro and the guerrilla group of the National Liberation Army –ELN-. As is known, the process will take place in Venezuelan territory, since after the restoration of diplomatic relations the neighboring country has shown willingness to participate in joint processes with Colombia.

“The High Commissioner for Peace and the ELN Dialogue Delegation communicate to national and international public opinion (that) the restart of the Dialogue Table will be next Monday, November 21, in the afternoon in the city of Caracas, Republic of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, the parties stated in a short statement.

In this sense, after the arrival of the delegation of negotiators from the national government with the ELN to Venezuela, including he found different representatives such as Otty Patiño, a former M-19 militant; José Felix Lafaurie, leader of the country's cattle union; and Senators Iván Cepeda and María José Pizarro; the Colombian ambassador in that country, Armando Benedetti, who traveled on the same flight as the national delegation, spoke about the expectations regarding the willingness of the armed group and the government's ability to achieve the agenda.

“I hope things go well, I hope the ELN understands that this is the only and last moment for the negotiations to advance. Lets wait and see what happens. The most important thing is that President Petro picks up what Juan Manuel Santos had already been doing; what Petro is doing is what has already been written, that nobody believes that we are inventing anything”, affirmed the ambassador.

Regarding the initial decision of the Government to move the negotiations with Venezuela, taking into account that it was previously in Cuban territory, where talks with the extinct FARC guerrilla were held at the time, noted that it is not ruled out having more headquarters.

It cannot be said that this is the only venue. Among other things, the guerrillas are to the north of our countries, on the border, so without Venezuela it would be foolish to think about this,” the Colombian politician pointed out; who warned and recalled that as in all peace processes, patience must be exercised, because time can be extended depending on many factors and gave the example of the agreement signed in 2016: “With the FARC we lasted 3 years, so wait 3 years”, he concluded.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that the representatives of the guerrilla will be Pablo Beltrán, Aureliano Carbonell, Silvana Guerrero, Consuelo Tapias, Alirio Sepúlveda, Isabel Torres, Tomás García, Óscar Serrano, Viviana Henao; added to the possible integration of Violeta Arango Ramírez , also known as alias 'Violeta', accused of participating in the attack registered in the Andino shopping center, in Chapinero (Bogotá) on June 17, 2017; although the latter has not been confirmed because the State would have to release her, after having captured her last June.

As for the guarantor countries, only two have been confirmed , Norway and Cuba, which at the time were essential for the consolidation of the dialogues with the FARC. In this sense, the government made it clear that only until the start of the talks will it respond to the requests of the countries that want to be part of this process.

“Regarding the guarantor countries, it is necessary to to specify again that at this moment they are Cuba and Norway, any other participant will be known after the talks table restarts. A point of the fundamental agreement in this type of conversation with the ELN is that nothing is defined unilaterally and until the table is restarted, those who are requesting to be guarantors will have an answer,” said the High Commissioner for Peace a few days ago. , Danilo Rueda.