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Colombia’s Peace Commissioner Under Fire Over Guerrilla Incidents

Members of Colombia’s Congress demanded the resignation of Peace Commissioner Danilo Rueda over his handling of peace talks with illegal armed groups.

Rueda was called to Congress to respond over setbacks in the government’s “Total Peace” policy that seeks to negotiate an end of armed conflict with multiple guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

The Congressional debate took place days after the kidnapping of the father of soccer player Luis Diaz by guerrilla group ELN and the suspension of peace talks by FARC dissident group EMC.

According to Senator Ariel Avila, one of the sponsors of Total Peace, the guerrillas’ alleged violations of a ceasefire have caused a crisis in the peace talks.

Senator Cathy Juvinao, who has generally supported peace talks, demanded the resignation of the peace commissioner over his alleged mishandling of the efforts to make peace with multiple groups at once.

According to the liberal senator, the negotiations and ceasefires have failed to reduce violence caused by the illegal armed groups that take part in the Total Peace process.

Also the number of municipalities that suffer the effects of armed conflict has increased, said Juvinao.

The far-right opposition urged a resumption of military efforts to combat illegal armed groups and improve public security.

“They can’t continue making fun of the country,” said Senator Maria Fernanda Cabal of the Democratic Center party.

Petro vowed to begin preliminary negotiations with three guerrilla groups, two paramilitary organizations and rival gangs from Medellin and Buenaventura after taking office in August last year.

To date, these talks have resulted in formal peace talks with the urban gangs, and the ELN and EMC.

Attempts to also formalize talks with FARC dissident group “Segunda Marquetalia,” and paramilitary groups like the AGC and Los Pachenca have yet to produce tangible results.

Source: Colombia Reports