BOGOTA – Colombia’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group is returning to Ecuador in an effort to reach a ceasefire agreement, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Sunday.
“In response to the call by the United Nations, Gustavo Bell will travel to Quito to explore the possibility of a new ceasefire that will allow us to continue the peace negotiations with the ELN,” Santos said in a Twitter post.
The UN Verification Mission in Colombia urged the government and ELN on Saturday to continue working toward a negotiated solution to the conflict.
The ELN, for its part, said it was open to resuming the peace dialogue with the Santos administration.
The peace process was suspended on Jan. 10 following a series of attacks staged by the rebels after the end of the 100-day ceasefire that started on Oct. 1.
The ELN said it was willing to “reach another ceasefire” and work toward bringing civil society into the peace negotiations.
Government and ELN negotiators are expected to resume talking in the Ecuadorian capital in early February.
The talks with the ELN started in 2017 and followed the signing of a peace accord the previous year with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.