Colombia announces plans for ELN negotiations

The Colombian government announced on 24 October 2016 the first phase of negotiations with the ELN will start on 3 November. The estimated 45-day process will be held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador and will be led by chief government negotiator Juan Camilo Restrepo and Ismael Ramírez Pineda, alias "Pablo Beltrán," representing the ELN (El Nuevo Heraldo). Before the talks begin, Restrepo stated a condition for negotiation is the liberation of former congressman Odín Sánchez Montes de Oca by the ELN. Restrepo said the demand for Odín Sánchez's release is not an attempt to sabotage the peace process, but an extremely important condition that would allow negotiations to start (El Colombiano). While both sides prepare to meet in Ecuador, the fighting continues in Colombia. Two soldiers were injured during a 20 October ELN attack in the eastern Arauca department (El Colombiano).