Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos has announced the suspension of talks with ELN. The president said during an event in the municipality of La Palma that he had made the decision to suspend the fifth stage of negotiations that was scheduled for the next few days until he sees coherence between the ELN’s words and actions.
The suspension of peace talks come after a series of bombings over the weekend that left seven police officers dead and many others injured. The government and ELN have been in negotiations for nearly a year but a suspension was said to be close after the attacks by the group throughout the month.
The attacks on police stations over the weekend left more than 40 people injured. In the first bomb attack, five police officers lost their lives. Two more lost their lives in the second attack. The third attack left five police officers and one civilian injured.
The president added that his patience and the patience of the people has its limits, so he has decided to suspend the fifth stage of talks. He finished by saying that the talks will begin when the ELN’s behavior follows the requests of peace from Colombians and the international community.
Earlier this month, the group attacked oil pipelines and authorities after a ceasefire ended. Santos recalled his chief negotiator after the attacks but did not announce a suspension. He also added that they were willing to continue the ceasefire but that the group had chosen not to.
The bomb attacks on the oil pipelines led to the suspension of operations. The group also attacked a naval base, injuring two soldiers. Talks in Ecuador had been scheduled for the following week. At the time, Santos said he had recalled the negotiator to evaluate the future of talks.
The government and group agreed to a three month ceasefire in October. According to reports, the ceasefire was not extended because the group wanted a new deal. The group’s negotiator said that the two sides had agreed to discuss a new deal after the first one ended.
In the agreement reached in October, the government promised to improve the conditions of the ELN members that have been captured by authorities. The group agreed to stop its attacks.
Talks between the government and ELN began shortly after the government and Farc agreed to a peace deal. The group, which is now a political party, has announced that it will have a presidential candidate for this year’s elections.