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Duque asks Cuba again to turn over ELN peace negotiators

Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks to the press in Bogota, Colombia, 22 January 2019. Duque again asked Cuba to hand over the peace negotiators of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas who are on the island after that group on Jan. 21 assumed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bogota that killed 20 police cadets. EFE-EPA/ Leonardo Munoz

Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks to the press in Bogota, Colombia, 22 January 2019. Duque again asked Cuba to hand over the peace negotiators of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas who are on the island after that group on Jan. 21 assumed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bogota that killed 20 police cadets. EFE-EPA/ Leonardo Munoz

EFE

Colombian President Ivan Duque on Tuesday once again asked Cuba to turn over the peace negotiators with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas who are on the island after that group on Monday claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bogota that killed 20 police cadets.

“We hope that the international community gives us that support and we make that call to the Cuban government for them to help us to do justice in Colombia,” said Duque in a statement before traveling to eastern Arauca province, where he will preside at a security council.

Last Friday, the president reactivated the capture orders against 10 ELN members comprising the delegation of the guerrilla group in Cuba, after which Havana on Saturday invoked diplomatic protocols.

In addition, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez confirmed on Monday on his Twitter account that “Cuba never has permitted and will not permit its territory to be used for the organization of terrorist acts against any State ... (and) it has strictly fulfilled its role as a guarantor and alternative seat for the Colombian Dialogue Roundtable between the Government and the ELN.”

In that regard, the president said on Tuesday that “the message has been one of respect” and due to the seriousness of the incident, he called for “those capture orders to be quickly reactivated.”

“Therefore, we’re issuing a respectful call to the Cuban Government for it to proceed with the extradition orders so that they may turn over to Colombian authorities the responsible figures of that organization so that they may pay the price they deserve for this abominable act,” he said.

Duque invited member states of the United Nations to help Colombia “capture and bring those responsible parties to justice: it’s a very important message.”

The high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, said on Monday that “there is no protocol that protects terrorism” and he asked for “the immediate delivery of the members of the ELN delegation” because that guerrilla group claimed authority for the terrorist act and “as an organization, it must be responsible” for it.

Meanwhile, Duque said Tuesday that Colombian authorities will work “to remove from terrorism any ability for harm and also to affect its structures.”

Last Thursday, the ELN staged a car-bomb attack against the Fransisco de Paula Santander Police Cadet School, killing 20 and wounding 68 cadets - a strike that has earned the repudiation of Colombians and the international community.


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