English Translation of the ELN Peace Talks Agenda

On March 30, after more than two years of exploratory conversations, Colombia’s government and second-largest insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), reached agreement on an agenda for formal negotiations. This “public table of conversations” will take place in Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, and Cuba. Here is the negotiating agenda. This document’s Spanish original is here, in PDF format. This is a rush translation; feel free to suggest edits in the comments.

Accord for Dialogues for the Peace of Colombia Between the National Government and the National Liberation Army

The government of the Republic of Colombia (National Government) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), henceforward “the Delegations,” as a result of exploratory and confidential dialogues, and given their manifest disposition for peace, have agreed to install a public table of conversations to take on the points that have been established on the agenda, with the goal of signing a Final Accord to end the armed conflict and agree on transformations seeking a Colombia in peace with fairness.

The exploratory dialogues took place between January 2014 and March 2016 in the Republic of Ecuador, the Federative Republic of Brazil, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, whose governments acted as guarantors along with the Government of Norway; during this phase the governments of the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of Chile officiated as accompaniers. The National Government and the ELN express special recognition and gratitude toward all of them. The international community’s continued accompaniment is essential.

Recognizing that peace is a supreme good in every democracy, and with the objective of putting an end to the armed conflict, eradicating violence from politics; placing the treatment of victims’ situation at the center; and advancing toward national reconciliation through society’s active participation in the building of a stable of long-lasting peace, the Delegations have agreed:

  1. To install a public conversations table in Ecuador.
  2. The table’s sessions will take place in Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, and Cuba. These countries, together with Norway, are the guarantors.
  3. To carry out direct and uninterrupted conversations between the Government and ELN Delegations.
  4. To execute the agenda with the greatest speed and rigor.
  5. To develop the following agenda:

I. Agenda

1. Participation of Society in the Building of Peace

The participation of society will be:

a. That they make peace viable through initiatives and proposals in the course and context of this process.

b. On the themes of the agenda.

c. A dynamic and active exercise, inclusive and pluralistic, that permits the building of a common vision of peace that encourages transformations for the country and its regions.

2. Democracy for Peace

Democracy for peace is the purpose of this point of the accord:

a. To carry out a debate that permits examination of society’s participation in, and decisions about, the problems that affect its reality, and that can be channeled into constructive elements for society.

b. Treatment of conflicts with an eye toward building peace.

c. Review of the normative framework and guarantees for public demonstrations. Treatment of the legal situation of those accused and convicted for actions taken in the development of social mobilizations.

d. Participation of society in the construction of citizenship.

3. Transformations for Peace

The purpose of this point is to agree on transformations for peace, taking into account:

a. The transformative proposals elaborated by society, upheld by the results of point 2 of this agenda (“Democracy for Peace”).

b. Transformative programs to overcome poverty, social exclusion, corruption and environmental degradation, while seeking equity.

c. Alternative integral plans with a territorial focus, which constitute economic and productive options that benefit communities.

4. Victims

In the construction of a stable and lasting peace, the recognition of victims and their rights is essential, as is the treatment and resolution of their situation based on truth, justice, reparations, and commitments of non-repetition and not forgetting. These elements, taken together, are the basis of forgiveness and lead toward a reconciliation process.

5. End of the Armed Conflict

The objective of this point is to put an end to the armed conflict in order to eradicate violence in politics, and encourage the ELN’s transition toward legal politics, for which the following points will be taken up:

a. Definition of the future legal situation of the ELN and its members.

b. Security conditions and guarantees for the ELN.

c. Conditions and guarantees for the ELN’s exercise of politics.

d. Dealing with the privation of liberty of ELN members who have been tried and convicted.

e. Clarifying the phenomenon of paramilitarism so that it may never be repeated.

f. Humanitarian dynamics and actions.

g. Bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities for the end of the armed conflict.

h. In the framework of the new circumstances generated by this process, an accord on the ELN’s weapons will be constructed, to put an end to the armed conflict.

The government will make the institutional and procedural adjustments required for due compliance with the accords reached on this point.

6. Implementation

Implementation is meant to execute the accords agreed upon in this agenda, in order to materialize the changes that will permit passage from armed conflict toward peace, taking into account the following:

a. The implementation phase of the accords will be defined by a General Execution Plan, which will be fundamentally built with the specific plans from each agenda point. This Plan will be elaborated in this point, and will include a timetable.

b. The General Execution Plan for the accords will include control, oversight and verification mechanisms, with the participation of society, the international community, the Government and the ELN.

c. The General Execution Plan for the accords will address the following dimensions: legal, political, social, economic and diplomatic.

d. Accord on ratification that consolidates what has been agreed and projects it toward the future.

e. Upon the signing of the final accord, the General Execution Plan for the accords will begin.

II. Public Phase

1. Objective information for the country about the direction of the debate and advances at the table:

a. Society requires objective and balanced information about the dialogues and the peace process, as a result a favorable atmosphere will be created for, among others, participative communication.

b. Joint declarations at the end of every round of talk and when the Delegations consider it appropriate.

c. Declarations from each delegation whenever they consider it appropriate, preserving confidentiality on issues that are jointly agreed.

d. The table will have its own communications instruments, such as joint communiques, bulletins, a web page, and what is agreed in the course of the public phase.

2. Pedagogy for peace will be based on:

a. The participation of society.

b. The table’s impact on the transformation of the armed conflict.

c. Creating a favorable environment for peace.

d. Communicating this pedagogy as en element of building a culture of peace.

e. The peace dialogues will be developed in an atmosphere of respectful treatment.

3. Functioning of the table

a. Each delegation will be made up of up to 30 representatives. In the table’s sessions, up to 10 people per delegation will participate, 5 principals and 5 alternates.

b. The conversations in the public phase will be developed according to the order of the established agenda. Any change will be made by mutual consent.

c. Once this process is made public, mechanisms will be established with the Table of Havana to identify issues that will require coordination and synchrony.

d. The Delegations will agree on rules for the functioning of the table for the public phase.

e. In each work session, the duration of the next will be established. The duration of the meetings, the recesses between them, and the consultations will be defined in accord with the advances and needs for joint work or by Delegation. Time for joint work to develop the agenda will be prioritized.

f. Each Delegation will have the advisors that it considers necessary for the development of the process. The same will apply to the table.

g. In the treatment of proposals received about this agenda’s points, special relevance will be given to recommendations from society. The Delegations will define the work methodology and the ways in which these initiatives will be considered, as well as the mechanisms and forms of society’s participation.

h. Security mechanisms will be agreed for the members of the Delegations, during their time spent in work sessions and in their travel.

4. Financing

The Colombian government will provide the resources for its Delegation’s functioning.

Expenses related with the ELN (delegation, advisors and activities to develop during the course of the process) will be financed through a fund with resources from international donors that will be established for this purpose, and for which a group of countries will be formed for support and cooperation.

This accord was developed between January 27, 2014 and March 30, 2016, in Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil.

For the Government of the Republic of Colombia

  • Frank Pearl, chief of delegation
  • MG(R) Eduardo Herrera Berbel
  • Jaime Avendaño
  • José Noé Ríos
  • Paola A. Celis S.
  • Juan Esteban Ugarriza

For the National Liberation Army

  • Antonio García, chief of delegation
  • Pablo Beltrán
  • Omaira Elena Vásquez
  • Manuel Gustavo Martínez
  • Jaime Torres
  • David Cañas Cajiao

For the Government of Norway

  • Dag Nylander
  • Hilde Salvesen
  • Torleif Kveim

For the Government of the Republic of Ecuador

  • Juan Meriguet

For the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

  • Carlos Eduardo Martinez
  • Ramón Rodríguez Chacín
  • Carola Martínez

For the Government of the Republic of Chile

  • Raúl Vergara Meneses

For the Government of the Republic of Cuba

  • Rodolfo Benítez Verson
  • Abel García Romagosa

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