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Colombia Reauthorizes FARC Leader Visits to Rebel Troops

  • Reuters

FILE - Ivan Marquez, chief negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), center, accompanied by Jesus Santrich, right, and Joaquin Gomez, left, speaks at a news conference at the close of another round of peace talks with Colombia's go

FILE - Ivan Marquez, chief negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), center, accompanied by Jesus Santrich, right, and Joaquin Gomez, left, speaks at a news conference at the close of another round of peace talks with Colombia's go

Colombia's government has re-authorized visits by rebel peace negotiators from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to guerrilla encampments in the country, the government's negotiating team said on Thursday.

The government suspended visits by rebel leaders two weeks ago after it said FARC negotiators violated the terms under which they were allowed to return from Havana, where peace talks have been taking place since 2012.

The rebels will only be allowed to meet with their own troops for the purpose of explaining progress at the talks, the government negotiating team tweeted.

"The protocols signed by the two sides do not allow events with the civilian population or the presence of the media," the team said. "For security reasons the locations of visits will not be revealed."

President Juan Manuel Santos halted the visits in February after guerrilla leaders Ivan Marquez, Jesus Santrich and Joaquin Gomez met with local residents and participated in public events with armed fighters in La Guajira province, despite restrictions on such activities.

Negotiators have reached partial agreements on land reform, guerrilla participation in politics, transitional justice, efforts to find missing persons and remove land mines, and an end to illegal drug trafficking.

The FARC, which formed in 1964 to fight rural inequality, has said it will enter politics and seek alliances with other parties once it signs a peace deal.

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