United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today welcomed the announcement by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) of a temporary bilateral cease-fire from 1 October 2017 to 12 January 2018. In a statement issued by his Spokesman, the Secretary-General expressed the hope that the agreement, announced yesterday in Quito, Ecuador, will improve conditions for the civilian population in conflict areas and offer opportunities for substantial progress in the peace talks between the parties. “The Secretary-General commends the role of the guarantors – Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Norway and Venezuela ¬– in support of the negotiations, as well as the important role of the Catholic Church,” the statement said, adding that the Mr. Guterres reiterated the support of the UN towards all efforts that contribute to lasting peace in Colombia. Also today, the United Nations in Colombia celebrated the temporary ceasefire agreement. “The United Nations believes that the main objective of the agreement is to improve the humanitarian situation of the population,” said a press release issued by the UN Mission in Colombia. “This act is a concrete step towards a full respect and application of International Humanitarian Law and will help build confidence in the peace process,” it added.The latest agreement comes on the heels of a peace accord that ended five decades of war between the Government and what was then Colombia’s largest armed group FARC-EP, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. “The Colombian civilian population that suffers the conflict directly will be the main beneficiary with the commitments announced by the ELN to suspend all type of kidnappings and attacks against the physical infrastructure, the enrolment of children and teenagers and the abstention from installing anti-personnel explosive mines,” the release said. The release said that likewise, the UN welcomes that the Government will strengthen the early warning system to prevent attacks and killings of social leaders. “All these measures will help to create a favourable climate for the process of consultation with citizens, set out in the negotiating agenda,” it stated.