A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement on 31 March in response to the establishment of peace talks between the Colombian Government and the country’s second‑largest guerilla group, the ELN:
The German Government welcomes the establishment of peace talks between the Colombian Government and the ELN. The negotiating partners have really thrown open the door to the possibility of a lasting end to the internal armed conflict. That deserves our recognition. It is another important step towards bringing peace to the whole country.
We hope that the peace talks with the FARC, which have already reached an advanced stage, can now be brought to a positive conclusion quickly. The German Government will continue to actively support the peace process in Colombia.
On 30 March, after two years of informal preparatory negotiations, the Colombian Government and the leaders of the ELN announced the launch of formal peace talks. With around 1300 fighters, the ELN, or Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army), is the second‑largest guerilla organisation in Colombia. The negotiating partners signed an agreement setting out a roadmap with a total of six negotiating chapters. A date for the talks to begin has not yet been fixed.