The Americas

Colombia's ELN rebels free 3rd hostage as peace talks loom

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 file photo Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos makes the victory sign after voting in a referendum to decide whether or not to support the peace deal he signed with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, in Bogota, Colombia. Colombia's government and rebels from the National Liberation Army have agreed to revive a stalled peace effort, providing a boost to President Juan Manuel Santos as he tries to recover from voters' shocking rejection of a deal with the much-larger FARC guerrilla group, it was announced on Monday, Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 file photo Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos makes the victory sign after voting in a referendum to decide whether or not to support the peace deal he signed with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, in Bogota, Colombia. Colombia's government and rebels from the National Liberation Army have agreed to revive a stalled peace effort, providing a boost to President Juan Manuel Santos as he tries to recover from voters' shocking rejection of a deal with the much-larger FARC guerrilla group, it was announced on Monday, Oct. 10. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)  (The Associated Press)

Colombia's second-largest rebel group freed a rice farmer Monday ahead of an expected announcement that it is initiating stalled peace talks with the government.

The individual was handed over to the International Red Cross. He is the third person freed by the National Liberation Army in two weeks.

President Juan Manuel Santos had been demanding the ELN release all captives in order to resume peace talks that have been frozen since March.

Venezuela's government, which is sponsoring the talks, has called a press conference Monday at which they're expected to announce an end to the impasse and the start of formal talks in the coming days.

A peace deal the much-larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is at risk of falling apart after the accord was rejected in a referendum.