The third round of peace talks between the Colombian government and ELN rebels, which was due to begin in Havana at the end of the month, has been postponed to May 2, the foreign minister of host Cuba announced Tuesday.

The new round of negotiations was scheduled to begin on April 26 on the Caribbean island, following the first phase in Venezuela in November and the second in Mexico in March.

The talks are part of efforts to end Colombia’s six-decade civil war. In the new cycle, the central issue is to lay the foundations for a mutual ceasefire.

“We will welcome from May 2, with the will and impartiality that is the tradition of Cuba as a guarantor country and an alternative location (…) the third round of the dialogue platform for peace between the Colombian government and the ELN,” he said via Twitter the Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.

The delegation of the Colombian government “reaffirms its will to make progress in the process”, was the reaction of the government’s High Commission for Peace, which added that it appreciates the “invaluable support” of Cuba.

Although the ELN has been holding peace talks with Bogotá since November, clashes between its fighters and Colombian security forces have not stopped, particularly in Guevara strongholds.

Recently, President Gustavo Petros announced that the armed forces of Colombia and Venezuela, contrary to the past, have now “allied” against the ELN. The rebel organization, which next year will complete 60 years of armed struggle, operates on both sides of the border.

After years of tensions between Bogota and Caracas, President Petro, who was elected in the summer and is the first leftist in Colombia’s history, restored diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

His predecessor, conservative Ivan Duque (2018-2022), severed diplomatic relations between the two states in 2019 to pressure his Venezuelan socialist counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, to step down and to support opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Mr. Duque has repeatedly complained that Venezuela has offered support to the ELN and other rebel groups, particularly dissident groups from the former FARC rebel group, which reject the 2016 peace deal.

The negotiations that led to the signing of this agreement, which was described as historic, were also held in Havana.