Colombia’s two main guerrilla groups, the FARC and the ELN, announced Friday a May 20-28 unilateral cease-fire for the presidential election.
The news was conveyed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, delegates taking part here in peace talks with the Colombian government.
One of the delegates read from a joint statement signed by FARC chief Timoleon Jimenez and the leader of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, Nicolas Rodriguez.
“We order all our units to cease any offensive military action against the state armed forces and the economic infrastructure from 0:00 a.m on Tuesday, May 20, until 24:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28,” the statement said.
This is the third unilateral cease-fire declared by the FARC since peace talks with the Colombian government began in November 2012 in Havana, but the first to be held jointly with the ELN.
The rebel armies have adopted this electoral cease-fire because of the “national cry” for a voting atmosphere “characterized by a complete absence of disturbances,” according to the text read by FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo.
“Now we’ll see if there’s a change in the language and orders of high officials and of members of the military and police high commands with regard to our gesture - which we offer in hopes of lighting the way to a bilateral cease-fire,” the guerrilla said.
The FARC and ELN reminded the Colombian government that they have repeatedly insisted on “the need to agree on a bilateral cease-fire which channels the peace talks toward the effective and rapid reconciliation of all Colombians.”
The last suspension of FARC hostilities took place in mid-December and lasted 30 days.
The elections, in which President Juan Manuel Santos seeks another term in office, will be held on May 25, though surveys indicate there will have to be a runoff on June 15.