Colombian government suspends peace negotiations after attacks by country's last rebel group

Colombian government suspends peace negotiations after attacks by country's last rebel group

The attacks are attributed to the left-winged National Liberation Army (ELN) and caused Santos on Wednesday to order his Chief Negotiator, Gustavo Bell to immediately return from Quito, Ecuador, where negotiations with the ELN were taking place.

Gunmen claiming to belong to Colombia's last rebel group kidnapped an engineer in the country's east, police said Saturday, after peace talks broke down between the ELN rebels and Bogota.

The worldwide community and Guterres have called on the Santos administration and ELN leadership to resume the ceasefire and peace talks that began in February a year ago.

Guterres was scheduled to meet with Santos on Saturday afternoon and members of the United Nations mission, which monitors compliance with the peace agreement between the government and guerrila group turned political party FARC.

From his headquarters in NY, the Secretary-General reiterated his support of the peace process with ELN urging both sides to restore the cease-fire despite the current "decrease in confidence".

But experts say worldwide input is "not enough" to prompt a return to the negotiating table or any changes in position.

Worldwide leaders, the Catholic Church and the head of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which until recently was the nation's largest guerrilla group, are all urging government and ELN negotiators to resume talks.

The United Nations monitored a ceasefire with the ELN until its expired on Tuesday and violence resumed.

In southern Narino province, which concentrates the majority of coca leaf crops - the raw material that makes cocaine - there are hundreds of former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who decided not to adhere to the peace accord signed late in 2016.

Under that deal brokered by President Santos, the Farc has disarmed and demobilized its fighters and transformed into a political party.

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