Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Conflict resolution groups welcome news of the US delisting as a step towards lasting peace in Colombia.

United States planned removal of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group from its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” could happen as early as the end of November, an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters news agency.

The walk is Tuesday, the eve of the five-year anniversary of a landmark peace agreement between the Marxist rebels and Colombia’s government that put an end to decades of violence.

The FARC’s removal from Washington’s “foreign terrorists” list could be implemented by late November or early December, US officials told Reuters.

The US State Department notified Congress on Tuesday of its planned delisting from the FARC, while the Colombian government was formally notified on Wednesday.

The FARC fought for five decades in an era of devastating political violence in Colombia, with bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and attacks in the name of redistributing wealth to Colombia’s poor.

The group signed the peace agreement with Bogota in 2016, and in 2018 participated in a United Nations oversight of the last of its accessible weapons. Today it is designated as a political party, with a guaranteed share of seats in Colombia’s legislature.

Removing the group from the U.S. terror list will enable U.S. officials to work with FARC members who are now entering private or political life, the U.S. official said.

The official also said the administration of US President Joe Biden intends to hold hardliner groups consisting of former FARC rebels and a second group of former rebels who have a variation of the FARC name on the list of “terrorist” organizations used.

“It also enables us to direct the full tools of the U.S. government and law enforcement to go to those individuals who have not signed the agreement and remain active in terrorist activities,” the official added.

Despite the 2016 agreement, violence continues in several parts of Colombia where FARC continues to hold dissenters who have rejected the peace agreement, and where other armed groups and drug smugglers operate.

This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – on a visit to the South American nation to celebrate the anniversary of the peace agreement – regret “Enemies of peace” and asked to “guarantee the safety of former fighters, social leaders and human rights defenders”.

“We must redouble our efforts to increase the sustainability of [reintegration] projects, with technical and financial support, land and housing, ”Guterres said on Tuesday.

The fact that former FARC members were on the U.S. “terrorism” list has prevented U.S. government agencies from collaborating on development projects that include former fighters, such as schemes to remove landmines, or attempts to replace illegal crops such as coca leaf. Adam Isacson of the Washington office said. Latin America, an advocacy group.

Conflict resolution groups welcomed news of the delisting.

“We are very pleased to see that this step has been taken, which will undoubtedly facilitate the implementation of the Colombia peace agreement,” said Renata Segura, Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit research group. , said on Twitter.

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