Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, said Sunday that it would not join the FARC in a unilateral ceasefire in the weeks around presidential elections held on June 15.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
The ELN and the FARC jointly ceased hostile actions in the weeks surrounding the first round that was held on May 25.
However, the ELN leadership said n the guerrillas’ website that they would “not assume a new unilateral ceasefire for the second election round because every time the insurgency does something like this, it is used by the state military forces to obtain military advantage over our own troops.”
“Because of this, the mechanism of a ceasefire may be valid, when there’s a will and reciprocity on behalf of the state,” said the ELN Central Command.
The rebels did promise to “respect the desire and right of the electorate to exercise their right to vote. In that sense, we will not carry out any activities that could affect or disturb the electoral process.
The ELN’s refusal to take part in a second round ceasefire is contrary to the FARC’s promise to call three weeks of ceasefire starting on Monday. The groups jointly called a ceasefire before the first round, but were unable to coordinate to repeat this because of logistical issues, said FARC commander “Timochenko.”
“Our units are aware that the suspension of offensive actions against enemy forces and state infrastructure from midnight Monday until midnight June 30,” the FARC chief said in a letter published on the FARC’s website.
The FARC is currently negotiating peace with the administration of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos, who is trying to get reelected on June 15. The ELN have frequently requested to also be included to talks, but have received no formal response.
- Comunicado (ELN)
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