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Colombia’s FARC leader warns government against violation of peace deal

Leader of Colombia’s former rebel group FARC Rodrigo Londono delivers a speech at Mesetas municipality, Colombia, on June 27, 2017. (AFP photo)

The leader of Colombia’s former rebel group FARC has warned the country’s government against failure to meet its obligations under a 2016 historic peace deal.

In a letter published by FARC on its website on Monday, Rodrigo Londono accused the government of breaching the "minimum guarantees" of the Havana peace accords and called on President Juan Miguel Santos to fully comply with the pact inked last November to put an end to Latin America's oldest conflict.

Londono noted that the government has failed to release all FARC inmates and suspend arrest warrants for FARC members.

"There are thousands of ex-combatants...who do not receive the monthly payment of 90 percent of the minimum wage" which had been agreed under the pact, and they still have no access to health care, he said.

The former rebel group leader urged the international guarantors of the peace deal, including the UN and the Vatican, to ensure “the great work of peace stays afloat." And he urged Colombians "not to remain impassive in the face of this grave situation.”

A UN observer unloads weapons surrendered by the Colombia’s former FARC rebels in Funza, Colombia, on September 22, 2017. (Reuters photo)

On September 1, FARC re-launched itself as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, sealing its transformation into a leftist political party.

The group’s new name, Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun, controversially retains the same Spanish acronym and the revolutionary spirit of the communist guerrilla group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing the peace deal last year.

The FARC formed as a communist movement in 1964 from a peasant uprising for rural land rights. Over the following decades the conflict drew in various rebel forces, paramilitary groups and state forces.

It left some 260,000 people confirmed dead, 60,000 unaccounted, for and seven million displaced in Latin America's longest conflict.

The new party will compete in next year's general elections.

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