“Duque’s agenda is an agenda determined by Washington”, says Pablo Beltrán

Pablo Beltrán, the chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN), said that the government of President Iván Duque has an agenda determined by the United States. He also emphasized on the ELN’s will to resume dialogues with the government, despite the differences.

November 09, 2018 by Colombia Informa

Beltrán denounced that 5,000 Colombian soldiers were sent by Duque to Tibú, in the south of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, with the intention of harming Venezuela. He said that the U.S. ordered Duque to act in line with the dictates of Plan Colombia [a U.S. foreign aid, military and diplomatic initiative aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and left-wing insurgent groups in Colombia.], despite the evidences of the failure of the war against drugs. “Trump sent an order, it is necessary to do forced eradication, it is necessary to fumigate and it is necessary to use repressive and war measures and this is what Plan Colombia calls for”, he emphasized.

He condemned the intentions of the Colombian government to attack Venezuela, under the guidance of Trump. He said that, although Venezuela has issues, it must be the Venezuelan people who solve them.

Beltrán also said that Trump insists on the extradition of the FARC leaders [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army] to the U.S. “How will -the FARC- will insist on the implementation of the peace agreement, if the leaders who signed that peace agreement are extradited to the United States?”

The head of the ELN’s negotiating team stressed that they stand with the communities that are being attacked and fumigated in a resistance.

Beltrán insisted Duque’s government resume the peace dialogue process and asked to define the government team that would participate in the negotiation.

He also said that the Colombian government failed to comply with a confidential meeting agreed with the High Commissioner for Peace of Colombia, Miguel Ceballos. This meeting was to take place after the ELN released military and police officers retained by that insurgent organization. However, Beltran explained that the High Commissioner himself to date has not attended the meeting.

President Duque on assuming office on August 7 announced a period of one month in his presidential speech to evaluate the course of peace negotiations. After a month, in September the peace dialogues were suspended and the government demanded the ELN to release all abductees and cease all their military activities. The ELN complied with the announced conditions and freed six people in the Department of Chocó and three soldiers in Arauca and agreed to negotiate the cessation of military activities. Despite the clear efforts made by the ELN, the president pulled out of the peace talks and insisted on maintaining preconditions for the continuity of peace dialogues.

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