Fri, May 12, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Colombia ratifies peace deal terms

AFP, BOGOTA

The Colombian Congress has approved a law ratifying provisions of a peace agreement permitting the country’s largest leftist guerrilla group to participate in the South American country’s politics.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 52-2 in favor of the law providing for the “political reintegration” of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The group’s inclusion as a legal political party was a key point of the peace agreement signed in November last year between the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, which ended a conflict that has raged since 1964.

The new law guarantees the former guerrillas a minimum of five seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives, although the group must run in legislative elections next year to claim them.

The FARC is to formally become a political party at a convention of former guerrillas that is scheduled for August.

Disarming the rebels was supposed to be completed by the end of the month, but the process has been delayed by logistical and legal issues, according to the UN, which is overseeing the task.

Santos on Monday said that he expects the FARC’s nearly 7,000 fighters to hand over their weapons by the end of this month, but he acknowledged that there are another 900 caches with explosives, munitions and spare parts that would still need to be dealt with.

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