Washington [US], November 30 (ANI/Sputnik): The United States has removed its designation of Colombia's FARC rebel group as a foreign terrorist organization, but designated the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP) and Segunda Marquetalia as well as their respective leaders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The Department of State is revoking the designations of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive order (E.O.) 13224, as amended," Blinken said.
Blinken went on to say that Washington is designating FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia.
"We are also designating the respective leaders of those organizations, Luciano Marin Arango, Hernan Dario Velasquez Saldarriaga, Henry Castellanos Garzon, Nestor Gregorio Vera Fernandez, Miguel Santanilla Botache, and Euclides Espana Caicedo, as SDGTs under E.O. 13224, as amended," he added.
The State Department said earlier in November that it started consultations with Congress on forthcoming actions regarding the FARC. Last week, Colombian President Ivan Duque said he has not been formally notified by the US government of plans to remove the group from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
"Following a 2016 Peace Accord with the Colombian government, the FARC formally dissolved and disarmed. It no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the capability or intent to do so," Blinken said.
Blinken stressed that the decision does not change Washington's position concerning any charges or potential charges in the United States against former FARC leaders.
"However, it will facilitate the ability of the United States to better support implementation of the 2016 accord, including by working with demobilized combatants," the secretary added.
Blinken explained that the newly-announced designation of FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia targets those who refused to demobilize and those who are engaged in terrorist activity.
In August 2019, ex-FARC commanders, including Luciano Marin Arango, created Segunda Marquetalia after abandoning the 2016 peace accord.
"Since then, Segunda Marquetalia has engaged in terrorist activity and is responsible for the killings of former FARC members and community leaders," Blinken said. "Segunda Marquetalia has also engaged in mass destruction, assassination, hostage-taking, including the kidnapping and holding for ransom of government employees. Segunda Marquetalia is also responsible for the attempted killings of political leaders."
FARC was created in 1964 as a left-wing armed force operating against the Colombian government. In 2017, after the disarmament process, it became the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force political party. (ANI/Sputnik)