U.S. to revoke terrorist designation for Colombia's FARC, add breakaway groups


FILE PHOTO: Former guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) participate in a protest called "Pilgrimage for Life and Peace" demanding security guarantees and compliance with the peace agreements signed with the government, in Bogota, Colombia, November 1, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will revoke its designation of the Colombian group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a foreign terrorist organization on Tuesday while designating two breakaway groups as such, a senior State Department official said on Friday.

A review of the terrorist listing - required every five years under U.S. law - found that the leftist organization known by the Spanish acronym FARC should no longer be listed, The official said.

But the two dissident groups that have formed out of FARC, La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP, or People's Army, would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations, the official said.

"It’s a realignment to address these current threats," the official said. "The FARC that existed five years ago no longer exists."

Founded in 1964, FARC was responsible for summary executions and kidnappings of thousands of people, including Americans.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the United States was preparing to remove FARC from the list five years after the group signed a peace agreement with Bogota.

The State Department notified the U.S. Congress on Tuesday of its planned delisting of FARC. The Colombian government was formally notified on Wednesday.

The government of Colombia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision will allow U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development to work on peace implementation in parts of Colombia where demobilized FARC soldiers are located, the official said.

"This is a priority for the Colombian government in the implementation of the peace agreement," the official said.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Simon Lewis in Washington; Additional reporting by Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Editing by Mark Porter and Leslie Adler)

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