BOGOTA – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Washington will review removing the FARC guerrilla group from its list of terrorist organizations if the group adheres to the peace agreement to be signed on Monday with the Colombian government.
Kerry told reporters that reviewing the FARC’s status and removing it from the list could happen quickly but it depends on how things unfold in Colombia
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebel group on Monday is scheduled to sign the formal peace pact negotiated with the Colombian government over the past four years.
“We clearly are prepared to review and make judgments about that as the facts come in. And I think we’ll know very quickly as the FARC reintegrates, as they go to the encampments, as disarming takes place, as the reintegration takes place and the reconciliation takes place, these will be the facts which motivate us,” said Kerry, responding to reporters’ questions, after traveling to Cartagena, Colombia, for the signing ceremony.
The pact will be signed Monday afternoon in the presence of some 2,500 invited guests from Colombia and abroad by President Juan Manuel Santos and top FARC leader Rodrigo Londońo Echeverri, alias “Timochenko.”
“We’re deeply invested in success. We don’t want to leave people on a list if they don’t belong on a list, so let’s see how things unfold,” said Kerry.
The secretary of state said that Washington hopes that the peace process will be a victory for the Colombian people.
The United States wants strong authorities in Colombia, he said, and it will maintain its long-standing cooperation with Bogota in fighting drug trafficking.
He added that the U.S. government is asking Congress for $390 million to help implement the peace agreement in the South American country.
The FARC has been on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations since 1997, but Santos has asked Washington to remove the rebel group from the list.