Colombia and ELN rebels begin moving to restart peace talks

Colombia's Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva speaks accompanied by his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, after Leyva's arrival in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Colombia’s government is looking to resume peace talks in Cuba with the National Liberation Army, the last remaining rebel group in the Andean country. ( AP Photo/Ismael Francisco) (Ismael Francisco, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HAVANA – Colombia’s new government and members of the nation’s last guerrilla group are moving toward restarting peace talks that were suspended three years ago in Cuba.

After a meeting between both sides in Havana on Friday, Colombia’s national peace commissioner said the government will take the necessary “judicial and political steps” to make peace talks possible, such as lifting arrest warrants for members of the National Liberation Army delegation now living in exile in Cuba.

Colombia’s previous government terminated the peace talks in 2019 after the rebels set off a car bomb at a police academy in Bogota and killed more than 20 cadets.

Colombian authorities issued arrest warrants for ELN leaders in Cuba for the peace negotiations. But Cuba refused to extradite them.