Colombia’s armed forces and the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels are set this week to halt offensive actions against each other, prior to the beginning of a full ceasefire in August.
The step was agreed to in June during peace negotiations between the two sides meant to end the guerrilla group’s part in the country’s nearly 60 years of internal conflict, which have killed at least 450,000 people.
“From 00 hour on July 6 until 00 hour on August 3, 2023, the structures of the National Liberation Army should stop all offensive military action against the armed forces and the police in all national territory, including intelligence efforts,” the ELN said in a statement posted to its website on Tuesday.
The group will continue to respond to attacks on or threats to its units, it added.
The government’s high peace commissioner, Danilo Rueda, in a statement on Tuesday said President Gustavo Petro will make an announcement in the same vein with explicit and specific orders to the armed forces.
The full ceasefire, set to begin Aug. 3 and last for six months, is the most concrete step so far at the talks, which began in November and are part of Petro’s efforts to end the conflict between the government, rebels and crime gangs.
Previous negotiations with the ELN, which has some 2,800 combatants, have faltered on its diffuse chain of command and dissent within its ranks.
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