After a long and winding road, the Colombian government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) finally began a formal peace process in Ecuador on 7 February. This is groundbreaking but given the tortuous nature of the exploratory talks with the country’s second-largest guerrilla group, which began over three years ago, achieving the ‘complete peace’ craved by President Juan Manuel Santos before he leaves office in August 2018 remains a tall order. It is advantageous that the government has sealed a peace accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), but the ELN is less united and more ideologically-motivated, as well as demanding that some recondite issues are discussed.

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