The National Liberation Army, ELN, has announced it wants to reach a bilateral cease-fire agreement with the Colombian government ahead of the third round of negotiations on Monday.
In a press statement released Sunday, the ELN delegation announced: “both parties have the possibility and the responsibility to take a historic step: finalize the bilateral cease-fire that will open to the country an end to the armed conflict.”
“The Colombian people and international community will demand that we do not waste this historic opportunity to take concrete step that will allow us to move toward a political end to the conflict,” the statement added.
In the statement, the ELN stipulated that the success of a depends upon the government's ability to protect social leaders from further attacks.
“To advance toward a political solution to the social and armed conflict, the state must guarantee that there can be a struggle for power without violence, without social leaders being attacked,” the statement added.
The statement comes amid escalating violence against social leaders.
According to a report from the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, 55 community leaders and human rights activists have been assassinated this year alone.
The ELN is the last active guerrilla group in Colombia since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, signed a peace agreement with the government in November.
The third round of peace talks will take place in Quito, Ecuador.