Iván Duque spoke about the dialogues with the ELN: “May they do well without falling into naivety”

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During the launch of the book 'Duque su Presidency', the former president expressed the need to include all of Colombian society in the negotiations, alluding to a “great national consensus”

Iván Duque spoke about the dialogues with the ELN: “May they do well without falling into naivety”

Iván Duque talks about the dialogues with the ELN during the launch of his book. (Colprensa – Álvaro Tavera)

Former President Iván Duque expressed his position on the decision of the Government of Gustavo Petro to resume negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN). The former president explained that he does not regret having suspended the talks in 2019 after the guerrilla attack against the General Francisco de Paula Santander Cadet School, which left 22 dead and 68 injured.

The then head of state was evaluating the peace approaches that former president Juan Manuel Santos had achieved when the guerrillas committed the attack. “I don't regret the attitude we had with that group at all,” he said during a discussion at the launch of his book 'Duque his Presidency'. b>

The Democratic Center militant stated that this opportunity for negotiation was not possible during his administration: “For my own reflection and the one we had with the comrades is that we could not reopen a floodgate where the government would talk about peace and they will tolerate acts of vandalism.”

Read also: High Peace Commissioner explains Violeta's presence at the negotiating table with the ELN

With the mandate of Gustavo Petro, the possibility of advancing towards peace with the insurgent group was reopened; however, Iván Duque commented that it is necessary that “Colombian society and the different forms of thought be represented.” For the former president, the worst thing that happened to the country “is having turned peace into an electoral matter to divide society between friends and enemies of peace.”

In that sense, Also a former senator, he suggested that peace “has to be a great national consensus” and reiterated the position he assumed during his administration: “acts of terrorism, kidnappings and murders cannot be tolerated, while talking about peace.”

On the other hand, Iván Duque revealed a fact that was unknown about the event of the act of possession of the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel Obrador. Apparently, the president of the North American country received a paper envelope with a message from Cuba, which the ELN would have sent him with its intention to resume peace talks.

José Félix Lafaurie at the negotiating table

On November 17, the president of the Colombian Federation of Cattlemen (Fedegan), José Félix Lafaurie accepted Gustavo Petro's proposal to be part of the group of peace negotiators with the ELN. In this regard, Duque stated that “more than the person, it seems important to me that Colombian society be present.”

For the former president, the role of the victims of the conflict is essential armedin the country. “They have to be there, especially the mining-energy sector, the environmental sector in Colombia, Colombian women,” the former president specified, stressing that the ELN has been a group “that has been characterized by trampling on it, by destroying the conviction of the woman”.

The ex-president hoped that in the process “they would do well without falling into naivety at the conversation tables while the ELN continues to lacerate the Colombian people”. Regarding the livestock sector that Lafaurie will represent, he clarified that “there must be coherence” since they have been affected by the armed conflict.

Iván Duque ended his speech by assuring that “we never use the presidential power to attack, and I invite anyone who takes the exam to the affirmations, comments and speeches, I never made a personal attack.” With those words, he recalled his time during Congress, in the presidential campaign and during the Casa de Nariño.

“One cannot be carried away by emotions and govern only for a group of people let alone divide society,” he added.