MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Colombia’s government and National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels will hold a third round of talks in Cuba aimed at ending decades of armed conflict, the two sides said on Wednesday.
The dialogue has made “substantial progress” since resuming in Mexico on February 13, following a first round in Venezuela in November, a statement said.
The negotiators reported late last month that the Colombian government had recognised the ELN as a political organisation in order to advance the process.
There has been word of progress towards a bilateral ceasefire.
A date has yet to be announced for the next phase of the dialogue in Cuba.
Colombia has suffered more than half a century of armed conflict between the state and various groups of left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers.
The Colombian government resumed peace talks with the ELN, the country’s last recognised armed rebels, after Gustavo Petro became the South American country’s first ever left-wing president in August.
The talks had been suspended by his conservative predecessor Ivan Duque following a car bomb attack on a police academy in Bogota that left 22 people dead.
In their statement, the parties “profoundly” thanked the Cuban government and people for their support in the search for peace in Colombia.
Havana was the venue for the negotiations that culminated in the demobilisation in 2016 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which for years was the country’s largest guerrilla group.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted that the island nation was “honoured to accept” the request to host the next round of talks with the ELN.