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Latest update : 2017-06-23

FARC disarmament a 'historic day' for Colombia, says president

© FRANCE 24 screen grab

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tells FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman the completion of FARC rebels’ disarmament marks a historic step in the country’s "transition to peace".

The United Nations will formally announce that the FARC has handed back all of its weapons on Friday, President Santos said in a joint interview with FRANCE 24 and its sister radio RFI. As a result, he added, June 23 will be remembered as a “historic day” in Colombia’s “definitive transition to peace”.

Under a landmark peace agreement reached in November 2016, that ended half a century of war, the Marxist guerilla committed to surrendering its weapons to the UN mission in Colombia before the end of May. Because of logistical problems the deadline was later extended to June.

Santos, who was in France to promote post-conflict Colombia as an investment destination, said the peace deal with the FARC was irreversible, and that even its critics would not dare return to the days of guerilla warfare.

The 65-year-old president, whose efforts to bring peace to Colombia earned him a Nobel Peace Prize last year, also addressed the bombing that killed two Colombians and a French citizen last week in Bogota, saying investigators were looking at several hypotheses as to who may have perpetrated the attack.

Regarding the turmoil in neighbouring Venezuela, rocked by weeks of deadly protests, Santos said his country was attempting a mediation in order to prevent the conflict from escalating into a “civil war”.

By Marc PERELMAN

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