Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Historical peace accord signing

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM

CARTAGENA (AP):

Colombian Presi-dent Juan Manuel Santos is crediting his time as a naval cadet for steeling him to endure four years of tense negotiations and strike a historic peace deal with the country's main guerrilla group.

Santos says it was that military training that taught him the most important things in life: "Strength, perseverance - things that were useful, very useful, on the path to peace."

He called the accord a tribute to Colombia's US-backed armed forces and their pursuit of the rebels over the past decade, when several top rebel leaders were killed.

"What we are signing today is your victory," he said.

Santos spoke Monday to military officers in Cartagena, where he was a cadet many years ago, ahead of the signing of the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

He also presided over a minute of silence to honour the thousands of soldiers killed in combat with the rebels.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is prepared to review whether the Revolu-tionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, should remain on its designated terrorist organisation list after a peace accord with the Colombian

government is implemented.

Kerry says "we clearly are ready to review and make judgements as the facts come in".

He says in Cartagena, Colombia, that the US will be watching whether FARC rebels reintegrate into society, disarm and embrace the terms of reconciliation before making a decision.

Kerry adds that "we don't want to leave people on the list if they don't belong".

The US put the FARC on its terror list in 1997.

TERROR BLACKLIST

The European Union is set to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, from its terror blacklist as the rebels sign a peace treaty with the government. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc will remove the guerrilla group from its list of terror groups in a gesture of support for the peace process. That will open the door for Colombia to receive $600 million in EU aid for post-conflict refunding

The head of the International Monetary Fund is predicting that Colombia's peace accord will be "extremely positive" for the country's economy.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says concerns over a possible tax hike to pay for commitments laid out in the 297-page accord may be overblown.

She told reporters in the Caribbean city of Cartagena that "peace is affordable," after meeting with Colombia's finance minister on Monday.

Lagarde underscored that reforms to allow Colombia to maintain financial stability would have been needed regardless of the peace deal because of the impact of low oil prices on government

revenues.