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Colombia peace process hit by last reเช็ ก ซี่ เกมส์ 66777gaming เครดิต ฟรีbel group's decision to resume kidnappings

, India universities rise up the | เช็ ก ซี่ เกมส์ 66777gaming เครดิต ฟรี | Updated: 2024-06-13 13:21:30

Colombia's faltering peace process suffered a major setback as the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's last remaining rebel group, has announced that it will resume kidnappings due to delays in establishing an international fund to finance the peacebuilding.

The ELN said in a statement on May 6 that it was lifting its suspension on kidnapping for ransom because the Colombian government had failed to create a multi-donor fund, as agreed upon during previous negotiations, to support the peace process and finance the group's transition away from criminal activities.

The announcement was the latest blow to the talks that have been underway on and off since November 2022 between the administration of President Gustavo Petro and the ELN.

"There is a total-peace policy that has not been clearly defined in the methodological procedures," Carlos Medina Gallego, a political analyst at the National University of Colombia, told China Daily.

"There is still not enough state authority to clearly set the points on the table. Sufficient trust has not been built for what is discussed to be transferred to the institutional and social path of the nation," Gallego noted.

While six rounds of exploratory talks have been held so far, progress has stalled in recent months over issues like financing mechanisms, rebel disarmament and the regional governments' direct dealings with dissident fronts.

The two parties were unable "to articulate a purpose that generates a unity of criteria and a common purpose, and move the process forward," said Gallego.

"The complexity arose because an alternate parallel dialogue process had been initiated with (an entity) that had declared disobedience to the ELN," said Carlos Arturo Velandia, who is an ex-ELN commander and currently a peace promoter for the Colombian government.

Velandia alluded to the guerrilla front Comuneros del Sur, which operates in the Narino region.

"This front proposed a separation from the ELN and asked the government to develop a completely autonomous regional process, in which the laying down of arms would even take place," Valendia said.

"The government responded that it would develop a process completely separate from the national process it carries with the ELN."

According to Colombian Senator Ariel Avila, the absence of a legal framework for holding rebels accountable and flaws in the methodology of negotiating with the ELN are the two main factors contributing to the crisis facing Colombia's total-peace policy.

"The timing is very tight," he said. "We have been going from crisis to crisis for six months. If 80 percent of the negotiation is not complete by the end of this year, it will be impossible to sign anything before the electoral calendar."

Petro, for his part, strongly condemned the ELN's decision to return to kidnapping civilians, saying that "the path to peace is not to turn the human body into a commodity".

He stressed that taking hostages would only lead the rebels deeper into links with criminal gangs and illegal activities like drug trafficking.

"The ELN somewhat shows the myopic vision they have of the country," said Avila. "They argue they return to kidnapping because they do not want to traffic drugs, as if kidnapping were somewhat more commendable. It's ridiculous."

The government delegation negotiating with the ELN also stated that financing was never agreed upon in exchange for ending the practice of kidnapping and that no deadline was set for establishing the fund.

Despite ongoing efforts by the Petro administration to demobilize all remaining illegal armed groups, a recent secret report from security services seen by Reuters suggests that the ranks of the four largest rebel and criminal organizations — including the ELN as well as the Clan del Golfo and two dissident factions of the FARC — have expanded in recent years.

According to the report, the ELN saw its membership increase by 307 individuals to a total of around 6,158 fighters in 2023.

There have been suggestions "that if the ELN reactivates kidnapping, they will lift the ceasefire, and this would almost lead to a breakup," said Avila.

He said he believes the international community is "helping to rebuild the negotiating teams, and there (will be) room to maneuver in one or two weeks".

"From May 20 to 25, the delegations of the government and the ELN will meet again to sign the first point of the agreement related to the participation of society and democracy for peace," said Velandia. "That's where things stand, that's where the process is, that's where the crisis goes."

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily

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