It might or might not be an election ploy but Colombia’s president says he is starting peace talks with the country’s second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).
The government is already engaged in negotiations with FARC rebels to end a conflict that has killed over 200,000 people and displaced millions.
In a televised address President Juan Manuel Santos said:
“An integrated peace process that includes both the FARC and the ELN is the best guarantee for the victims and for the country so that this conflict is finished forever and will never be repeated.”
Juan Manuel Santos is just five days away from going to the polls in one of the tightest presidential run-off in decades. His announcement could sway undecided voters.
His rival, right-wing Oscar Ivan Zuluaga is bitterly opposed to the talks and favours tougher military campaigns.
After a 50-year rebel insurgency the presidential vote has turned into a referendum on how to bring about peace.