World Bulletin / News Desk
The Colombian government’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the ELN guerrilla group said Tuesday that serious challenges remain in verifying a recently agreed ceasefire.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Juan Camilo Restrepo said a long road lies ahead not only in getting the ELN and its members to adhere to the ceasefire but also in convincing communities that have suffered from the five-decade-long conflict to participate in the peace process.
Restrepo said convincing society to take part can only take place if the ELN stops its kidnappings.
“One cannot make an appeal to civilians while they are being kidnapped. By renouncing this practice, at least for a while, the road to initiating the process opens up,” he said.
The ceasefire has been signed for a four-month period, after which the government and ELN will start discussing a potential peace agreement.
Colombians can expect “all the humanitarian agreements that accompany the ceasefire,” Restrepo said.
“This is not only a silencing of arms. They will start to notice that there are no more kidnappings by the ELN, no more pipelines blowing up, no more landmines being planted, no more recruitment of minors under 15. These are the things that will be initially seen and that people will come to cherish.”
He was concerned, however, over a recent poll showing that 66% of Colombians do not have faith in the peace process.
“It worries me, but it does not surprise me. Fifty years of bombs, of killings creates a lot of mistrust, and this skepticism can only be resolved by concrete and positive acts such as the ceasefire.
Restrepo signed the ceasefire agreement on behalf of the Colombian government. The document will go down in history as the first agreement ever reached between the state and the insurgent group.
Mahmoud Abbas last year reduced salaries of 60,000 Gaza-based Palestinian Authority employees
'This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,' Trump writes in letter
'Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!', one student shouted during her speech at a Texas university
Israel's West Bank settlements are illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
An Iraqi refugee baby died as Belgian police was chasing a vehicle carrying illegal migrants
'If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,' American president says
Haidar al-Abadi says agreement reached with winning coalition bloc
Controversial picture of Haram al-Sharif circulates on social media
International court responds to Palestinian foreign minister's request
Lava flows from Kilauea destroy warehouse at major geothermal plant while others reach Pacific Ocean
Jafar Farah was arrested in Haifa last weekend after taking part in pro-Gaza demonstration
ISIL terrorists, Iraqi forces exchange blows south of Mosul, according to local security source
Restrictions on movement of patients, medicines are 'illegal, inhumane and unacceptable': Health Ministry official
US will do anything to prevent Iran's 'malicious activities' in region, Pentagon spokesman says