Colombia takes big step to peace as rebels lay down guns

Posted June 28, 2017

The United Nations confirmed that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia delivered 7,132 weapons, as part of the peace process to end decades of armed conflict and to start its transition into political life.

Beyond disarmament of the FARC it's still unclear how much more Colombians are willing to work to fulfill the 310-page peace accord's ambitious agenda of land reform, a more open political system and an end to the cultivation of illegal coca crops.

The final weapons belonging to the FARC were handed over to the United Nations on Tuesday in a symbolic ceremony attended by President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel commander-in-chief Rodrigo Timoleon Londoño Echeverri. On Tuesday, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARCs top commander Timochenko will meet in this area, at one of many rural camps where rebel fighters are making their transition to civilian life, to commemorate the completion of FARC disarmament process.

Nonetheless both the FARC and the government say they are making steady progress as the rebels begin their transition to civilian life. In addition, it also claims that 77 out of 900 clandestine arms caches operated by FARC rebels have been found and emptied.

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Conservative opponents of the peace deal, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, have questioned whether the FARC movement has turned over its entire arsenal. It drew in leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups and state forces.

President Santos says he now wants to achieve "complete peace" in the country by obtaining a deal with the last major rebel group still active in Colombia, the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN).

The process is a symbolic end to the violence which wracked Colombia for over half a century after peace talks in Havana, Cuba, which lasted from 2012 to 2016, ended with a final peace accord.

The ELN kidnapped two Dutch journalists on June 19 and freed them five days later. The only exclusions from the list are the weapons used to provide security in the 26 FARC-EP camps until 1 August 2017.

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Courts: Those accused of crimes in the conflict will go before special courts and could get reduced sentences if they confess. The FARC has pledged to use its assets to compensate victims.

Three women were killed in a bombing at a crowded shopping center in Bogota on June 17.

The FARC and the government have promised to stamp out the drug production that has fueled the conflict.

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