The third cycle of peace negotiations between the National Liberation Army and the Colombian government will extend until Monday in a continued effort to secure a temporary bilateral ceasefire before the visit of Pope Francis to Colombia Wednesday, according to VTV.
It is the second extension of the current round which began Friday and was due to end Saturday in Quito, Ecuador.
Negotiations between the Colombian government and the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group have been in progress since February in the Andean capital, with the aim of ending the 52-year conflict.
On its website, the ELN says that a ceasefire would bring immediate benefits to the population, but it argues that the suspension of fighting needs to be accompanied by specific humanitarian actions.
In particular, it says the government should take effective, concrete measures to counter “the genocide underway against social movement leaders, and to stop the expansion of paramilitary groups," calling for judicial action against paramilitaries and the assassination of social leaders and human rights defenders.
During his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis is expected to hear testimony from victims of the nation’s conflict during a mass in Villavicencio which is expected to draw thousands of people.