Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Last Colombia rebels ready to respect ceasefire: leader
By Jordi MIRO
Quito (AFP) Nov 9, 2017

Despite warning a ceasefire in Colombia is at "serious risk" of collapse, the leader of the country's last rebel group says it will respect the truce until its New Year expiry date.

The National Liberation Army, or ELN, began the historic truce with Colombia's armed forces on October 1, after half a century of fighting.

The initial ceasefire is to last until January 9, as peace talks between the two sides continue.

Pablo Beltran, the ELN commander, has hit out at the government of President Juan Manuel Santos for failing to "take responsibility" for recent attacks on community leaders and rights activists in coca-growing areas.

"There have been a significant number of deaths and threats against leaders, and repression of social movements," he told AFP in an interview in Quito, where he is the ELN's chief negotiator in the peace talks.

Beltran criticized the authorities for heavy-handed treatment of protests by farmers involved in coca-production. In many cases they are caught in a no-man's land between drug traffickers and the government intent on depriving them of their cash crop.

"In Colombia, there is very intense debate on the forced substitution of illegal crops," he said.

"This situation has aroused many protests and the treatment that has been meted out at these protests is like a kind of war treatment."

The attacks on community leaders have left about 200 people dead since 2016.

The government "consider that this is not a problem, as it does not violate the ceasefire," Beltran said.

"International bodies require the government to assume its responsibilities," he said, citing as an example the death, allegedly at the hands of the army, of an indigenous journalist in a land-claim protest on October 8.

Beltran also warned that the army was carrying out operations "close to ELN troops" and said this could provoke a clash. "It's looking for a confrontation," he said.

Government and ELN negotiators have undertaken several rounds of peace talks in the Ecuadorian capital Quito since February.

Santos is determined to sign a deal with the ELN to follow on from the success of a December 2016 peace pact with the South American country's other main rebel movement, the FARC.

While some FARC dissidents remain at large, the majority of the rebels have disarmed and formed a political party.

- Difficulties, and progress -

FARC and the ELN were formed in 1964 to fight for land rights and protect poor rural communities.

The conflict drew in paramilitary groups and state forces in what became a many-sided war fueled by drug trafficking.

It left about 260,000 people dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and seven million displaced in Latin America's longest conflict.

Beltran said the ELN is watching closely how the FARC deal holds up.

"If the commitments to FARC are not respected, what can we expect? As they are moving forward, we are watching what happens," he said.

The ELN, which has about 1,500 fighters by official count, agreed to halt attacks on oil facilities, to stop all hostage-taking, to suspend recruitment of minors and to stop planting explosives.

On its side, the government promised to improve prison conditions for 450 rebels and to strengthen protection for human-rights leaders.

Beltran said he nonetheless believed the truce would hold until the agreed deadline of January 9.

"Although there are difficulties, there is also progress," he said, predicting we "will find a solution to the flaws and the problems."

And after January 9?

"We think at at this moment the task is to solve the problems of the ceasefire and to take it forward," he said. "If we are capable of that, we will already consider ourselves well served, and then we see what happens after January 9".

He insisted that an ELN ceasefire breach last month, the killing of an indigenous leader, was an accident, after the man had struggled with his captors.

The leader had been detained by an ELN unit because "in that area there are some indigenous leaders who have been guiding Army patrols."

He said the guerrilla unit involved had "asked for forgiveness."

'Serious effects' for Colombians following FARC peace pact
Washington (AFP) Nov 9, 2017
The demobilization of Colombia's FARC guerrilla group has generated battles over territory, the Organization of American States (OAS) said Wednesday, resulting in violence ranging from forced displacement to the recruitment of minors. The transition of former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels to civilian life has "rekindled the existence of power gaps," the organization's ... read more

Related Links
Space War News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Sweden picks US Patriot missile system over European rival

Missile from Yemen intercepted near Riyadh airport

Russia conducts ballistic missile tests

Report: Japan eyeing SM-6 missiles for defense program

Raytheon, Australia ink first deal for ground-based air defense system

US accuses Iran of supplying missile to Yemen

Raytheon receives $17M contract for missile targeting system

Raytheon awarded $260M contract for Tomahawk missiles

NASA-Developed Drone Aircraft Offer One-of-a-Kind Capabilities

Niger to let US forces arm drones in counter-terrorism fight

Insitu awarded $9.2M for parts, sustainment of RQ-21A

New RoboBee flies, dives, swims and explodes out the of water

SES GS Awarded US Government Satellite Solutions Contract

16th SPCS Defenders of critical satellite communications

First order for Elta ELK-1882T SATCOM network system

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

MBDA Inc. to produce parts for Small Diameter Bomb

Swedish army to buy BONUS ammunition from BAE

BAE receives $40M from Lockheed for sensor technology

US court blocks Trump's military transgender ban

Lockheed, Navantia renew collaborative agreement

Philippines' Duterte receives Russian assault rifles

Whistleblower protection bill sent to President as complaints of retaliation grow

UK defence giant BAE Systems to axe almost 2,000 jobs

France hikes defence spending, inches towards NATO goal

US defence chief meets NATO to discuss IS, Afghanistan

Emboldened Xi, weakened Trump hold tough talks

Philippines scraps sandbar plan after China anger: defence chief

Simple green synthesis is a breath of fresh air

Subset of carbon nanotubes poses cancer risk similar to asbestos in mice

New, simplified technique makes light metallic nanofoam

Researchers show how nanoscale patterning can decrease metal fatigue

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement