Colombian presidential candidate Federico "phyco" Gutiérrez, of the right-wing Team for Colombia, assured this Monday that if he wins the elections he will open the possibility of negotiating peace with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which announced today that it will make a unilateral ceasefire during the elections.

"My proposal is: leave the indefinite ceasefire and as soon as we win the Presidency, with that unilateral and indefinite ceasefire, we sit down to discuss where Colombia is going"said Gutiérrez, mayor of Medellín between 2016 and 2019.

He added that he will always be "open to dialogue understanding that Colombia must live in peace and quiet"although he pointed out that you can never "give up protecting Colombians"so he insisted that "the ceasefire must be indefinite".

The ELN declared this Monday a unilateral ceasefire from May 25 to June 3 throughout Colombia "so that those who wish to vote do so in peace" in the first round of the presidential elections on May 29.

"I always welcome any ceasefire, because it means that there will be no deaths, that no more soldiers will be killed, no more police, that they will not kidnap, that they will not extort money as they have always done."indicated the candidate.

FAILED PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

From the beginning, the current government of President Iván Duque made the continuation of the peace talks with the ELN, initiated by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, conditional on that guerrilla renouncing all criminal activity, including kidnapping, and releasing to all his captives.

In January 2019, five months after Duque’s inauguration, the doors to dialogue were closed after an ELN attack against the General Santander Police School in Bogotá, which left 22 cadets dead, including an Ecuadorian, and more than 60 wounded.

The peace talks between the Santos government and the ELN began in 2017 in Quito, in order to end decades of internal conflict with the largest guerrilla group in the country after the demobilization of the FARC, and were later transferred to Havana where they were interrupted.

COMMITMENT TO THE AGREEMENT WITH THE FARC

Besides, "phyco" He assured this Monday that in an eventual government of his, he will advance in the fulfillment of the peace agreement signed by the previous Colombian Government and the FARC guerrilla in November 2016 with the aim of benefiting the regions.

"We will emphasize the implementation of the multipurpose rural cadastre and the formalization of land to advance towards the goal of 7 million hectares formalized"he added.

Colombia will go on May 29 to elect Duque’s successor in an election in which the leftist Gustavo Petro appears as the favorite in the polls, which do not give him a victory in the first round, so it is likely that he will have to face Gutiérrez in a second round on June 19.

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