Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) and state officials will be meeting for the sixth round of peace talks on June 25, authorities announced in a joint statement on Saturday.
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"The delegations have approached our proposals regarding the new Bilateral, National and Temporary Ceasefire and we express our willingness to concretize a qualitatively better new cessation, for which we will continue working in the sixth cycle," the statement read.
The announcement comes one day after the closing of the fifth cycle on Friday and coincides with the introduction of a new five-day unilateral ceasefire initiated by the ELN, to celebrate the second round of the presidential elections this Sunday.
"I think we are close to reaching what the country has been longing for, so we agreed on a new ceasefire that will allow us to continue promoting the development of the agenda and acclimatize peace in Colombia," said Gustavo Bell, chief negotiator of the Colombian government.
The decision will help ensure a quiet election day without threats of attacks from rebel group forces. Colombians will go to the polls Sunday to choose the successor to President Juan Manuel Santos from between right-winger Ivan Duque and leftist Gustavo Petro.
Society’s participation and role in the peace process was one of the main motivators for a temporary ceasefire, the statement explained.
Officials from both the guerrilla group and the state also thanked Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba and Norway for supporting the bilateral dialogues.
This is the second suspension of hostilities that the ELN has unilaterally declared in less than a month as part of the presidential elections in Colombia. The rebel group consisting of about 1,500 fighters also declared a truce in mid-May, with the aim of facilitating the first round.