The Colombian government started to review the cease-fire initiated in October with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in order to “design a new ceasefire,” it said in a statement issued on Monday, about two weeks after the peace talks resumed in the Ecuadorean capital.
The 101-day ceasefire will be replaced with a new ceasefire as soon as the government finishes the current evaluation.
On March 22, the government and the ELN announced that the evaluation of the last ceasefire will also count with the support of the United Nations and the Colombian Catholic Church, among others.
“The plenary session started with the presentation of the reports issued by the Colombian Episcopal Conference and the UN Mission. Along with the government's and the ELN's delegations, they will proceed to the review of the ceasefire carried out between Oct. 1, 2017, and Jan. 9, 2018,” stated the communique.
On Tuesday, the government and the ELN will present their own reports.
Last March 22, they both resumed the 5th round of peace talks in Quito, Ecuador and agreed to continue this round of talks until May 18.
The peace talks remained suspended for two months, since Jan. 9, when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos decided to leave the negotiation table following attacks by ELN rebels. The attacks, which according to ELN’s Chief Negotiation Pablo Beltran were not ordered by the Central Command, took place after a bilateral ceasefire between the two parties expired.
Santos’ decision to resume negotiations was announced one day after Colombia’s legislative elections and a day before the ELN’s unilateral “electoral” ceasefire was set to expire.
Santos, whose government signed the historic peace treaty with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will end his second presidential term in August 2018. If he is not able to reach an agreement with the ELN, the peace process would depend on the newly elected government which could be led by Ivan Duque, a strong detractor of the peace agreement signed with FARC.