BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Colombia overture to rebels
FARC
Armed uprisings have lasted over 30 years in Colombia
By South America correspondent James Reynolds

The Colombian government has taken steps towards starting a peace process with the country's second rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

The government has decided to restore the ELN's political status, which is seen as a move which will pave the way for possible peace talks.

The Marxist-inspired ELN, which numbers around 5,000 soldiers, has been fighting the state for more than 30 years.

woman terrorist
The human cost in the conflict has been high

In April last year, the government withdrew the ELN's political status after the rebels hijacked a plane in northern Colombia.

A month later the guerrillas abducted the entire congregation of a church in the city of Cali; but now, the hostages have been released and the government says that
the ELN has shown signs of good will.

Difficulties remain

But the prospect of meaningful peace talks in the near future is still difficult.

The ELN has called for the government to withdraw the armed forces from part of the North of the country to provide a neutral area in which to hold negotiations.

Earlier this year, the government decided that part of the Northern Bolivar province should make up this area.

Since then, there has been strong opposition from the people of this region, and convincing them to provide the venue for peace talks will be difficult.

Andres Pastrana
President Pastrana aims to restore peace

Almost two years ago, President Andres Pastrana began a separate peace process with the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

But talks with the FARC have yet to make noticeable progress and many Colombians doubt that the country's guerrilla groups are committed to negotiating an end to their respective uprisings.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

18 Jan 00 | Americas
Colombia rebels blast power pylons
15 Dec 99 | Americas
Colombian army hits back at rebels
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories