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ELN ceasefire to begin on October 1

06 September 2017

His visit comes two days after Colombia's government and the country's last active guerrilla group, the ELN, announced a ceasefire, a key step toward sealing a "complete peace" to end Latin America's longest civil war.

The Colombian government and the ELN had discussed the possibility of agreeing to a temporary ceasefire before the arrival of the pope, who begins a four-day visit to Colombia on Wednesday.

The Pope has been a keen supporter of the deal and in a video message ahead of the trip appealed for "a stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies".

This peace also serves as a reminder that "we are all children of the same Father, who loves us and consoles us", the Pope said, adding that the Church is also called to contribute to this task by promoting reconciliation with God, each other and with creation, "which we are exploiting in a savage way". Pope Francis, who has been a vital voice in promoting peace and overcoming old wounds in Latin America, suggested past year that he would visit the country if it was able to reach peace with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

The cease-fire was concluded in the framework of the 3rd cycle of peace talks between the colombian government and the ELN, since the 7 February in the capital of Ecuador neighbor.

"Your Holiness, we all want peace, but we have to build it with laws and the determination to guard against and punish violence that spreads hopelessness and distances us from God's word", Uribe wrote in the letter, which was leaked to local media. "We resolutely support what is happening on Quito", Serpa said.

However, the lack of military pressure from the government as a outcome of the ceasefire would allow it to better protect its interests from paramilitary groups like the AGC and the Aguilas Negras, who have been violently vying over territory important for criminal activity with the guerrillas. A figure who has railed against social injustice, Francis, who arrives in Colombia today, is revered even by leftist guerrillas. At least 79 of those sheltering inside were killed.

Decades of conflict involving the two rebel movements, the Colombian army and right-wing paramilitary groups have left more than 260,000 dead, displaced 6 million people and led to the disappearance of tens of thousands. "Now the moment has come", Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

She supports their work as an advisor and advocate and speaks to Linda Bordoni about REPAM's mission and her hopes for Pope Francis' visit to Colombia.

While this would be a common duty in most countries, the Colombian government's lack of grip on public security forced it to put its commitment to protect citizens on paper. "And it constitutes the first step toward advancing a definitive peace". "The same thing happened with John Paul II".

ELN ceasefire to begin on October 1