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ELN to Halt Offensive Action During Colombia's Peace Plebiscite

Bogota, September 26 (RHC)-- Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) announced that it will cease all offensive actions during the plebiscite to vote on the peace agreement, slated for October 2nd.

ELN Commander Pablo Beltran said this way the ELN --the country’s second-largest guerrilla group-- will show its support for the peace deal between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

In an interview with ELN radio network Radio National Patria Libre, Beltran said the guerrilla group will assure Colombians can safely vote for the deal's approval.

"To dispel any doubts, the commitment is that there will be no offensive action by the ELN during the plebiscite to facilitate the participation of the people,” said Beltran.

The ELN and the Colombian government began peace talks on March 3rd, a decision that was reached in Caracas, Venezuela. Talks have since been stalled, however.

The FARC-EP has frequently stressed that a key part of building peace in Colombia is to end hostilities between the government and the ELN.

The ELN announced the public phase of the talks would begin in May, and said the rebel group is willing to work together with government officials to achieve a peace agreement.

The ELN commander said the group hopes the next meeting with the government will help set a date to continue negotiations in Quito, Ecuador, since Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa offered to host the process and play the role that Cuba had in the negotiations with the FARC-EP since 2012.

The ELN wants the government to commit to a bilateral cease-fire before talks begin, meanwhile, the government wants the rebel group to cease some of its activities, such as detentions. 

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
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