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Colombia government, ELN rebels to resume peace talks

© AFP/File | The representative of the Colombian government Juan Camilo Restrepo gestures during a press conference in Sangolqui, Ecuador on April 6, 2017, within peace talks between the Colombian government and the ELN

BOGOTA (AFP) - 

Colombia's government and the country's last active rebel force, the ELN, will resume peace talks in just over a week, the lead state negotiator confirmed Saturday.

The return to the table was meant to have happened last Wednesday but was put off because of an information-sharing meeting in Cuba between the ELN and the bigger leftist rebel group, the FARC, which has already struck an accord with the government.

"Ecuador has generously hosted the peace talks between the Colombian government and the ELN, which will resume on May 16," Juan Camilo Restrepo said on Twitter.

A visit to Colombia by Ecuador's president-elect, Lenin Moreno, to take place Monday also pushed back the resumption of talks.

Restrepo said Moreno "will keep supporting the talks looking for peace in Colombia" as his outgoing predecessor Rafael Correa did.

The Colombian conflict erupted in 1964 and drew in various rebel and paramilitary groups and gangs as well as state forces.

In November, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed their peace deal with the government after four years of talks.

The National Liberation Army (ELN), launched its peace negotiations in February.

It has an estimated 1,500 fighters, compared with the FARC's 7,000.

© 2017 AFP