ELN negotiations with the Government slowly move forward

On 7 November 2016, the Ejercito de Liberación Nacional (ELN) announced the release of former Congressman Odín Sánchez is dependent on the Government releasing two rebel prisoners (El Tiempo). Peace talks between Colombia's second largest rebel group have stalled, as the Government refuses to continue talks until Sánchez is released. ELN Commander Nicolás Rodríguez, alias 'Gabino', insisted the Government has neglected its agreements while trying to impose conditions the group has not agreed to (Espectador). Even though negotiations are under way, rural areas still see the effects of the drawn out conflict. Rebel sniper fire claimed the lives of two soldiers in Colombia's eastern department, Norte de Santander on 7 November (El Colombiano). 

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).