Bogota, Nov 17 (IANS/EFE) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that for now his country's No. 2 guerrilla group, the ELN, will not be joining the peace process that Bogota has opened with the larger FARC.
"What I'm telling you is that we're not opening the door to let the ELN into these negotiations, I don't think that was the plan," Santos told EFE in an interview in Bogota before flying off to Spain to attend the Ibero−American Summit.
Even so, he said there are "possibilities", but "everything at the right time".
"We want to establish the dynamic of the second phase with the FARC, and then we'll study the possibilities of bringing the ELN into the conversation," he said.
By the second phase Santos meant the formal dialogue to be initiated Monday in Havana with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which follows the secret exploratory talks also held in Cuba between February and August, the first phase of the process.
This was the president's response to various messages by the ELN expressing its readiness to enter into peace negotiations and join the dialogue that the Santos government and the FARC formally inaugurated Oct 17 in Norway.