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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA10093, GOC AND ELN PEACE TALKS INCH FORWARD, BALL IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA10093 2006-10-31 20:08 2011-02-23 06:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0093/01 3042039
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 312039Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0363
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 1195
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7257
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 8397
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT 8338
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 4444
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 9499
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0349
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 5115
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0126
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 010093 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2016 
TAGS: PTER PGOV MARR PHUM CO
SUBJECT: GOC AND ELN PEACE TALKS INCH FORWARD, BALL IN 
ELN'S COURT 


Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood 
Reason: 1.4 (b,d) 

-------
Summary 
------- 

1.  (C) The fourth round of GOC-ELN exploratory peace talks 
concluded October 26, and the parties will start substantive 
discussions in December.  Most commentators regarded the 
result as positive but said the ELN must commit to a 
ceasefire implementation date and release kidnap victims 
before the talks could progress further.  Civil society 
guarantor Moritz Akerman said the ELN told him it is willing 
to make the required commitments and in return will ask for 
amnesty for its imprisoned members.  Akerman and Peace 
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo said the ball is now in the 
ELN's court.  End summary. 

------------------------------------------ 
Fourth Round Positive, Some Disappointment 
------------------------------------------ 

2.  (C) In a joint statement issued October 26, the GOC and 
ELN characterized their fourth round of exploratory peace 
talks in Cuba as constructive and agreed to move to a 
substantive phase of talks.  The parties divided their tasks 
into two baskets.  The first, called "Civil Society," 
includes additional "Houses of Peace," a National Convention, 
and "regional dialogue."  The second basket is entitled 
"Peace Environment," which will address a ceasefire, 
displaced persons, and amnesty.  Most commentators regarded 
the joint statement as positive.  Norwegian Charge Dag 
Nylander, who was in Havana as a representative of one of the 
"accompanying countries," said the parties reaffirmed in 
Havana the commitments they made recently in Caracas. 

3.  (C) Akerman told us the atmosphere deteriorated during 
the talks.  He was encouraged by opening statements by both 
sides, but became disappointed as the parties failed to show 
flexibility on ceasefire and humanitarian issues.  Akerman
said much of the corridor gossip in Havana centered on the 
apparently poor relationship between the principal 
negotiators, Restrepo and ELN military commander Antonio 
Garcia.  On two occasions, Akerman reported, ELN negotiator 
Francisco Galan asked Akerman to call the U.S. Embassy in 
Bogota to "save" the talks because the Restrepo-Garcia 
relationship appeared to have broken down. 

------------------------------------- 
Consensus that Ball is in ELN's Court 
------------------------------------- 

4.  (C) Akerman said ELN negotiators told him they are 
prepared to agree to a ceasefire, to be implemented on 
February 1, and are willing to release all kidnap victims. 
In return, the ELN will seek the release of all ELN prisoners 
and a GOC commitment to boost assistance to displaced 
persons.  Still, he complained about Garcia indulging in 
"interminable theoretical discussions about the nature of 
conflict," in Havana.  The ELN needed to stop issuing 
statements and instead present a concrete ceasefire proposal 
to the GOC.  He said the guarantors intended to work 
intensively with Galan and ELN prisoner Juan Carlos Cuellar 
on a draft ceasefire text.  Akerman reported that Garcia 
rejected OAS involvement in ceasefire verification activities 
and suggested instead the UN or EU.  The ELN appeared 
concerned about FARC attacks during a ceasefire.  Nylander
told us Restrepo was tough in his concluding press conference 
in Cuba, saying the talks had little future if the ELN would 
not commit to a ceasefire and release its kidnap victims. 

5.  (U) The ELN announced on October 29 it would order its
fronts in Samaniego, Narino Department, to facilitate the 
demining of the area.  Former foreign ministers Maria Emma 
Mejia and Augusto Ramirez, members of the National 
Facilitation Commission, characterized the action as positive 
and said it reflected the progress the GOC and ELN had made 
in recent months. 

---------- 
Cuban Role 
---------- 



6.  (C) Akerman told us Cuban Communist Party official Tony 
Lopez appeared to play a negative role in Havana.  The 
guarantors showed Lopez a draft ceasefire proposal they had 
previously drafted and shared with former Venezuelan vice 
Foreign Minister PavelRondon.  Akerman said Lopez regarded 
the proposal as "interesting," but insisted the ELN should 
not make a deal with the GOC as long as the FARC was still in 
the field. 

----------------------------- 
Norway Standing By on Funding 
----------------------------- 

7.  (C) Nylander said Norway was examining two financial 
contributions: one for the process, and one for the ELN as an 
organization.  The former could occur with GOC approval but 
the latter would require significant ELN movement on 
humanitarian issues and broader international community 
endorsement. 
WOOD