BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said it will be very difficult to resume peace talks with the ELN if that guerrilla group doesn’t show any coherence between what it says and what it does, a reference to its bombing this Saturday of a bridge and a highway in the northern part of the country.
“Nothing is more contrary to peace than an armed attack, so resuming a dialogue with the ELN will be very difficult,” the head of state said after presiding over a security council meeting in Arauca on the Venezuelan border, where he analyzed the situation of public order and security in the country.
The president recalled that the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the early hours Saturday used explosives to damage a bridge and a highway in the north Colombian province of Cesar. There were no victims.
The two attacks, one in the community of La Mata and the other in the town of Curumani, on the highway that connects the interior of the country with the Atlantic coast, coincided with the 72-hour “armed strike” announced last Wednesday by the ELN to pressure the government into resuming the peace talks in Quito.
The attacks were to continue from 6:00 am this Saturday until the same hour on Tuesday, Feb. 13, according to pamphlets distributed by the guerrilla group.
“We’ve now taken all the necessary action in the case. Both the bridge and highway will be repaired today, in the next few hours. They’re already working on it,” the president said with regard to what happened in Cesar province.
He said the ELN “is no longer able to carry out military strikes” and can only commit “acts of terrorism” that mainly affect the “civilian population and the environment which they claim to defend.”