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Colombia's FARC Rebels Ready to Return to War if Talks Fail, President Says

FILE - Police officers take cover during an attack by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Toribio, southern Colombia, July 7, 2012.

Colombia's leftist FARC rebel group is prepared to return to the battlefield, especially in urban areas, if peace negotiations with the government fall apart, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been holding peace talks for three-and-a-half years in an effort to put an end to more than five decades of war in the Andean country.

"We have ample information that they are prepared to return to war and urban war, which is much more destructive than rural war," Santos said at the World Economic Forum's Latin America meeting in Medellin.

"That is why it is so important we reach a deal," the president said, adding he was confident a peace accord would be ready soon.

The FARC declared a unilateral cease-fire nearly a year ago and the government has halted bombings on rebel camps while the talks continue. The two sides last week announced a deal on joint eradication of illicit crops.