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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 10:22 GMT
Stalled Colombia peace talks restart
Colombian President Andres Pastrana
Mr Pastrana has warned against expecting too much
By the BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Havana

Peace talks between the Colombian Government and the country's second largest guerrilla group - the Army of National Liberation, known by its Spanish initials as the ELN - have resumed in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The President of Colombia, Andres Pastrana, has said no-one should raise their hopes too high for these peace talks.

Soldier on guard after ELN bus bombing in December 2001
Peace talks were suspended since last August
But many are happy they are taking place at all after the Colombian Government suspended negotiations with the ELN in August 2000.

Contacts between the two sides continued with the help of the Cuban Government late last year to try to get the talks back on track.

President Fidel Castro attended the inauguration of the talks and afterwards said both Colombia and Latin America needed peace.

Two ELN prisoners have been allowed to travel to Cuba to represent their colleagues.

Territory dispute

Senior members of the government, the Roman Catholic church, trade unions and international observers are also attending the three-day meeting.

Among other things, they are discussing the role of the international community in the peace process and what have been the achievements and failures since talks between the Colombian Government and the ELN began in 1998.

Cuban President Fidel Castro
Mr Castro said Colombia needed peace
President Pastrana suspended them because no agreement could be reached about granting the ELN their own territory to administer in the north of the country.

But both sides seem to agree that that issue is not now on the table, after the government's experience with the country's main rebel group, the FARC. Early this month, the government ordered the FARC out of their safe haven, but a deal was later signed to reach a truce by 7 April.

As the talks opened, both sides spoke about the need for peace in Colombia.

But the real test - and the test they have failed up to now - is to put their fine words into practice.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | Americas
Bogota bomb kills police
24 Jan 02 | Americas
FARC demands bilateral truce
07 Jan 02 | Americas
Colombia's most powerful rebels
21 Jan 02 | Americas
Last-ditch deal in Colombia
16 Jan 02 | Media reports
Peace talks dominate Colombia papers
15 Jan 02 | Americas
Peace process continues - Pastrana
19 Jan 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
The most feared man in Colombia
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