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Colombian officials hold second day of peace talks in Geneva

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the country's second most powerful guerrilla group have begun in Geneva swissinfo.ch

Colombian government representatives and members of the country's second largest rebel group are holding a second day of peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending Colombia's 36-year civil war. Switzerland is hosting the talks.

This content was published on July 25, 2000 - 13:50

The talks, involving representatives of the government, the National Liberation Army(ELN), as well as church officials, are designed to establish the framework for a full peace conference.

Around 80 people are taking part in the talks, including envoys from Norway, Spain and Cuba. The discussions are due to end later today.

A statement issued after the first day of negotiations said compromises would need to be made on all sides. The statement said the participants agreed that "concrete acts" were necessary to build confidence and credibility in the
peace process.

On Monday, Franz von Däniken of the Swiss foreign ministry described the meeting as a "historic moment for all those who believe in the possibility of a just peace in Colombia".

Swiss officials intend to remain on the sidelines throughout the negotiations, leaving the Colombian government and the ELN to hammer out a deal aimed at ending Latin America's longest-running civil war.

The two sides are trying to agree a plan to create a demilitarised ELN enclave in northern Colombia, where the guerrillas want to host a national peace convention.

Among those representing the ELN at the Geneva talks are two guerrilla leaders, Francisco Galan and Felipe Torres, who are currently serving prison terms for sedition, terrorism and kidnapping.

The Colombian government has released them temporarily so they can participate in the negotiations.

swissinfo with agencies

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