QUITO – The Ecuador government expressed “deep satisfaction” over the start of peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), announced on Monday in Caracas, calling the negotiation a “historic event” that “represents an important step towards the end of the war in Colombia.”
In a statement, the Ecuadorian government ratified “its commitment to the path taken by the Colombian government” to peace and showed “their hope, with Ecuadorian people, to achieve peace in Colombia and throughout Latin America.”
In a statement published on his Twitter account, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa hailed the peace talks, scheduled to begin on Oct. 27, and said they showed that “peace is irreversible” despite the outcome of the Oct. 2 referendum.
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said in a statement to media that the announcement of peace talks represented “one more step” towards peace in Colombia and in Latin America.
Highlighting the Colombian people’s “immense desire for peace,” the minister said he was optimistic about the process, yet realistic that it poses a “great challenge.”
Long added that he had held several conversations with his Colombian counterpart, Maria Angela Holguin, to address aspects of post-conflict planning.
He added that meetings between the foreign, defense and interior ministers of both countries will be held to rigorously monitor every step of the peace process.
Long said it was unclear how long the negotiations would last, recalling that in the case of FARC, the negotiation period lasted nearly four years, but expressed hope that agreement would be reached “in much less time.”