The left-wing Venezuela has agreed to be the guarantor of future peace talks between Colombia and its last guerrilla unit, both countries said late Tuesday.
Colombia turned to Venezuelan presidential government Nicholas Maduro be the guarantor of negotiations with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, the last active rebel group in a country torn apart by decades of conflict.
In his speech, Maduro said: “Of course we agree!”
Colombia and its largest rebel group, FARC, signed a historic peace deal in 2016 after decades of war.
Venezuela has taken part in this peace process, with Maduro first serving as foreign minister in the government of the late socialist icon Hugo Chávez and succeeding him after 2013.
“Peace in Colombia is peace in South America,” Maduro said on Tuesday.
Petro wants to resume negotiations with the ELN, which were started by his conservative predecessor Ivan Duque. They broke off after a rebel attack in 2019 that killed 22 people.
Representatives of the Petro government and ANO have already met in Havana.
Petro said he would soon meet with the ELN in Venezuela, where high-ranking ELN leaders are based, according to Colombian military intelligence.
After Petro came to power in August, Colombia and Venezuela restored diplomatic relations after a three-year break caused by the recognition of the Colombian opposition leader. Juan Guaido interim president of Venezuela.