April 20, 2018 / 9:22 PM / a year ago

Chile offers to host talks between Colombia, ELN rebels

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Chile was willing to host the next meeting between the government of Colombia and rebel group ELN, after Ecuador earlier this week pulled support for the talks.

The sometimes-fraught, 14-month-old peace talks between Colombia and the ELN, a leftist rebel group founded in 1964 by radical Catholic priests, were re-started in Quito last month.

But violence by Colombian armed groups in Ecuador, including the recent kidnapping and killing of two journalists by former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), prompted Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno to suspend its role as a guarantor country, an observer who guarantees the process is conducted objectively.

Chile’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was willing to serve as the new venue in order to help Colombia reach a resolution to the conflict “as quickly as possible.”

Chile, together with Brazil, Cuba, Norway and Venezuela, are also guarantor countries for the talks.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman

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