Documents - Peace Process
Communiqué from the ELN, December 1996
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Translation from German
AN ADDRESS TO NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION
In reaction to the conjecture surrounding the arrest of Werner Mauss and his wife at José Maria Córdoba International Airport in Rionegro (Antioquia), on the 16th of November 1996, the central command of EJERCÍTO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL (National Liberation Army) wishes to make the following statement to the national and international community:
1. Neither Herr Mauss nor his wife belong to EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL, and our organisation has neither an organic nor a political connection to these German citizens who are presently being deprived of their liberty and subjected to the arbitrary regional jurisdiction of Colombia.
2. Via their mediation however, the EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL as a political, sovereign and autonomous organisation, did maintain diplomatic relations with the German government, relations of the same kind as those maintained with other governments.
3. The purpose of these relations has always been the finding of a POLITICAL SOLUTION to the armed conflict in our country. The EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL is very well aware of the numerous efforts and actions that Herr and Frau Mauss have contributed to the creation of appropriate conditions which may make it possible to overcome the terrible conflict in our country.
4. Through the mediation of these two German citizens a situation was arrived at by which it was made possible for their government to offer its services in the quest to find political solutions for the conflict in our country, and for the envoys sent by President Samper and led by Mr. Carlos Villamil Chaux and Interior Minister Horacio Serpa Uribe to go to Germany and meet with members of that country’s government, and even for Ernesto Samper himself to hold talks in New York with the German minister Schmidbauer.
5. One result of these developments was, that during the final months of this year (1998), the Colombian Church and the German Conference of Bishops could be successfully persuaded to unite in an endeavour to seek out ways to bring peace to all Colombians.
6. The EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL sees as positive both the efforts of Herr Mauss and his wife and the intention of the German government to offer help in ending the conflict that is bleeding our people. We will therefore continue to support these initiatives through our political will for peace and our belief in humanitarian principles.
7. Though we are of the opinion that negotiating peace with the Samper government will be difficult, we have faith in the steps initiated by Herr Mauss and his wife and supported by the German government. …………….
8. The kidnapping of Frau Brigitte Schoene was carried out by persons unconnected with the EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL. Our intervention to obtain the release of this person was done for humanitarian reasons and at the request of the German government. We therefore hold accounts of events which attempt to link our organisation and Herr and Frau Mauss with the kidnapping of Frau Schoene to be tendentious and irresponsible.
COLOMBIA FOR THE WORKERS
NOT ONE STEP BACK…. LIBERATION OR DEATH
EJERCITO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL
Mountains of Colombia, December 1996