The paramilitary activity, as an extension of the state apparatus, should be cleared up for the government to reach a lasting peace deal with the rebel groups, Antonio Garcia, leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN), said in an interview published Monday on Venezuelan news website Noticias 24.


Garcia described paramilitary activity as “the use of exacerbated violence as a mechanism to terrorize the people so they fail to take action” to change their economic, political and social reality.

The government of Colombia has been battling two insurgencies for decades such as the ELN and the larger Armed Revolutionary Front of Colombia (FARC).

Peace talks with the FARC began in Havana, Cuba, in November 2012, and talks with the ELN are expected to begin soon in Ecuador.

“Both the government and the insurgency are willing to advance” toward a peace accord, said Garcia. “The quality of the agreements and the commitment to really fulfill them are what will allow this to turn into a reality.”

Garcia, who led the ELN delegation to Caracas for the March 30 signing of an agreement to enter into peace negotiations with the Colombian government, said economic reform was key to ending the conflict, too.

“It is very difficult to find a political solution if the economic model remains untouched, (as does) the social impact of the economic model,” said Garcia.

The peace negotiations should not be turned into a “straightjacket” that stifles debate about the problems that had led to the armed uprisings in the first place, he added.

The government and the ELN have a six-point negotiating agenda similar to the one that has guided the talks between the government and the FARC, but public participation was called for in the peace process. Enditem

Source; Xinhua


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