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Colombia, ELN Rebels Declare Ceasefire as Latest Cycle of Talks Ends

HAVANA (Reuters) – Colombia’s government and the left-wing ELN guerrilla group declared a bilateral ceasefire on Friday, as a third cycle of peace talks closed in Havana.

Preparations for the ceasefire, which will come into full force on Aug. 3rd and last 180 days, are due to begin immediately, the two sides said at a joint press conference.

The ceasefire announcement is good news for the embattled Petro, who is facing allegations at home of financial irregularities in his election campaign, threatening other aspects of his planned political and social reforms.

The leftist Petro, who attended Friday´s ceasefire announcement, early in his tenure promised an ambitious plan for total peace in the South American nation long plagued by domestic conflict.

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The Havana negotiations stalled in mid-May after Colombian President Gustavo Petro questioned the group´s unity of leadership, prompting a rebuke from the ELN, which at the time said talks had entered into “crisis.”

(Reporting by Nelson Acosta in Havana, editing by Dave Sherwood and Nick Zieminski)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters,

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