Colombia, ELN rebels begin exploratory talks

Representatives of the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Andean nation’s second-largest rebel group, met Friday in Ecuador to initiate contacts that are meant to lead to formal peace talks.

The discussions were supposed to begin Thursday, but “logistical” issues forced a postponement, the ELN said.

“They met today. They continue tomorrow,” a Colombian official told EFE on condition of anonymity.

The ELN’s Radio Nacional Patria Libre confirmed that talks began Friday.

“Today’s meeting was brief, but VERY POSITIVE,” the broadcast outlet said on Twitter.

The parties did not disclose the exact location of the talks, though Ecuadorian media accounts said that the Colombian officials and ELN delegates met in the northern town of Ibarra.

In November, the Colombia government signed a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest insurgency.

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