Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and FARC leader Timochenko (R), shake hands in front of Cuban President Raul Castro (2nd-R) during a meeting in Havana, September 23, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
Some 500 observers with the United Nations (UN) will monitor a demobilization and disarmament deal between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels, a Colombian official says.
The deal was reached between the Colombian government and FARC — the largest guerrilla group in Colombia — in peace talks in the Cuban capital of Havana on June 23.
Under the deal, the rebels would disarm and declare independence as a political party.
A comprehensive peace accord is expected within weeks.
“Five hundred international monitors from 15 countries will ensure” the ceasefire and disarmament deal once the comprehensive agreement is signed, Columbian Senate President Mauricio Lizcano said after meeting with Jean Arnault, the UN representative to the peace talks, on Wednesday.
Fifteen percent of the observers will be European and 85 percent Latin American, Lizcano added.
Reports say some further issues of disagreement are yet to be settled between the two sides, including the reintegration of FARC members into civil and political life and also the venue where the final deal is to be concluded.
In this January 4, 2016 photo, two female FARC rebels listen to a commander speak on the peace negotiations with the Colombian government, in a hidden camp in Antioquia State, in the northwest Andes of Colombia. (By AP)
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos had threatened earlier this month that the FARC rebels who refuse to demobilize will either be killed or captured by the Colombian military forces.
“I assure you, they will end up in the grave or in jail,” Santos said.
The FARC, also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has an estimated 7,000 fighters. It has been at war with the government in Bogota since 1964.
So far, at least 260,000 people have been killed in clashes between the two sides and 6.6 million others have been displaced. Moreover, a further 45,000 people are said to be missing as a result of the conflict.

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