The president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, today denied having had any contact through a delegate with the National Liberation Army (ELN), which he described as “terror machine”, before the attack on January 17 against the School of Bogotá Police, which caused 22 deaths.
“I have not sent any delegates to speak with the ELN,” Duque responded in an interview with CNN en Español during his visit to Washington.
Duque said his relationship with the ELN has been in the hands of his high commissioner of peace, Miguel Ceballos.
“The ELN knows how things are with me on the table and clearly (…) This government does not sit at any table while they have been kidnapped and while they continue committing criminal acts,” he added.
The president, who on Wednesday opened the agenda for a trip to the United States. With a meeting with his counterpart, Donald Trump, he warned that he will face that group “with all the offensive, dissuasive and sanctioning capacity of the Colombian State.”
“The ELN is a terrorist, bloodthirsty group and this has been the case throughout its history,” he added.
Duke narrated his visit a few months ago to the town of Machuca (northwest), where in October 1998 that guerrilla dynamited a section of the central pipeline, which caused a fire that destroyed 46 houses, caused the death of 84 people and left 30 more wounds.
And he complained about the actions of the ELN during the 17 months of negotiation that he had with his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, who reached a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), now converted into a political party.
“Seventeen months of negotiations, 400 terrorist attacks, more than 111 murders and more than 16 kidnappings, that is not a will, that is the reaffirmation that they are a machine of terror,” the Colombian president told the network, insisting in his petition to Cuba to extradite the ELN leaders who remain in that country. (EFEUSA) .-