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The National Liberation Army rebels refuse to sign a cease-fire agreement with the Government of Colombia

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The ELN fighters have rejected the Colombian president’s claims that they have signed a cease-fire agreement with the government.

President Gustavo Petro announced over the weekend a six-month ceasefire with the country’s five largest armed groups, including the National Liberation Army, which has held peace talks with the government.

The rebels said in a statement that “the NLA dialogue delegation did not discuss any bilateral ceasefire with the government of Gustavo Petro. Therefore, there is no such agreement.”

President Petro, Colombia’s first leftist president, who said he wanted “total peace” in the country, announced the armistice on Twitter on New Year’s Eve.

“We have agreed to a bilateral ceasefire with the NLA, Marquetalia II, Central General Staff, AGC, and the Sierra Nevada Self-Defense Forces from January 1 to June 30, 2023,” Pietro wrote on Twitter.

He declared the cease-fire to be “extendable according to progress in the negotiations”.

Despite a peace deal that saw FARC fighters disarmed in 2017, armed groups remain locked in deadly disputes over proceeds from drug trafficking and other illegal businesses, according to the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), an independent think tank.

Colombia is the largest cocaine producer in the world

The government said, in a statement on Sunday, that the ceasefire would be monitored by the United Nations, the Human Rights Ombudsman of Colombia and the Catholic Church.

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