Colombia's FARC to finish disarming on Friday: President

AFP , Friday 23 Jun 2017

Colombia's FARC rebels will complete their historic disarmament on Friday, ending half a century of war, President Juan Manuel Santos said during an official visit to France.

"This June 23, the United Nations mission in Colombia will announce that the FARC has handed over 100 percent of its weapons," Santos told an economic forum in Paris.

"Today the FARC, the most powerful and oldest guerrilla movement in Latin America, will cease to exist," he said to warm applause.

This date "changes the history of Colombia," Santos said.

The 2016 Nobel Peace laureate is in France to promote post-conflict Colombia as an investment destination.

Under a historic peace agreement reached in November 2016 with the Colombian government, the FARC committed to surrendering its weapons to the UN mission in Colombia before the end of May. Because of logistical problems the deadline was delayed to June 20.

The Colombian conflict erupted in 1964 when the FARC and the ELN -- a smaller rebel group -- took up arms for rural land rights.

The violence drew in various rebel and paramilitary forces and drug gangs as well as state forces.

The conflict has left at least 260,000 people dead and displaced more than seven million, according to the authorities.

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