BOGOTA – Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who was discharged from hospital Tuesday after submitting to prostate surgery, asked for a suspension of peace talks between the government and the ELN until that guerrilla group accepts a “total cessation of criminal activities.”
He made that statement to the press after leaving Medellin’s IQ InterQuirofanos Clinic, where last Wednesday he successfully underwent prostate surgery, which required a subsequent six days of rest.
According to Uribe, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the second largest rebel group in the country, “kills our country’s soldiers, dynamites oil pipelines, attacks citizens in Bogota, and it’s as if nothing happened.”
“Talks must be suspended until the ELN accepts a total cessation of criminal activities,” the founder of the Centro Democratico party said.
The former president’s comments referred to the bomb attack last Sunday in Bogota’s La Macarena neighborhood that left 26 wounded, 24 of them police officers, and recent attacks on the Caño Limon-Coveñas oil pipeline reported by the state oil company Ecopetrol, but without implicating that insurgent group.
Uribe, 64, said that members of the armed forces meeting with Centro Democratico city councilors told them the perpetrators of the Bogota attack were ELN members.
Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said Monday that Sunday’s attack could have been launched by the ELN.
Last Feb. 7, the Colombian government and the ELN entered into negotiations in Quito aimed at ending the war that has gone on for more than 52 years, following the government-FARC peace accord signed last Nov. 24.