Conflict resolution groups welcome news of the US delisting as a step towards lasting peace in Colombia.
The United States scheduled removal The rebel group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” could take place as early as late November, an unnamed US official told Reuters news agency.
The move was first reported by U.S. news outlets on Tuesday, the eve of ‘s five-year anniversary a landmark peace agreement between the Marxist rebels and the Colombian government that ended decades of violence.
The FARC’s removal from Washington’s list of “foreign terrorists” could be completed in late November or early December, the US official told Reuters.
The US State Department notified Congress on Tuesday of the planned delisting of 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 redistribution of wealth among Colombia’s poor.
The group has signed the peace agreement with Bogota in 2016, and in 2018 participated in a United Nations-controlled dismantling of the last of its accessible weapons. Today it is designated as a political party, with a guaranteed share of the seats in the Colombian legislature.
By removing the group from the US terror list, US officials could work with FARC members now entering private or political life, the US official said.
The official also said the administration of US President Joe Biden plans to include hardliner groups made up of former FARC rebels and a second group of ex-rebels using a variant of the FARC name on its list of “terrorist” organizations. hold.
“It also allows us to attack the full tools of the US government and law enforcement to go after 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 dissidents who rejected the peace agreement still have weapons, and where other armed groups and drug traffickers operate.
We pay tribute to the Colombian people on the five-year anniversary of the peace agreement. Colombia has made significant progress and we will continue to support their implementation of the agreement.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 24, 2021
This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – on a visit to the South American nation to mark the anniversary of the peace accord – regretted “enemies of peace” and called for “ensuring the safety of ex-combatants, social leaders and human rights defenders”.
“We must redouble our efforts to improve 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 US “terrorism” list prevented US government agencies from collaborating with development projects involving former combatants, such as plans to remove landmines or attempts to replace illegal crops such as coca leaf, said Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America, an advocacy group.
Conflict resolution groups welcomed the news of the delisting.
“I am very pleased that this step has been taken, which will undoubtedly facilitate the implementation of the Colombian peace agreement,” said Renata Segura, deputy director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group, a non-profit research group, on Twitter. .