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Bogota, FARC rebels reach agreement on Colombia missing

The Colombian government and the leftist guerilla group FARC have reached a deal on searching for the thousands missing and presumed dead in their conflict. A definitive peace deal might be signed within six months.

It is estimated that about 51,000 people went missing during the decades-long conflict between the FARC rebels and the Colombian government. The two sides reached an agreement that launches steps to search for and locate those missing, as well as identify and return their remains, Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez told reporters in Havana.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the largest leftist guerilla group still active in the country, and the Colombian government began

peace talks in the Cuban capital

in November 2012.

The new agreement also sets up a special unit to focus on the task with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Colombia's National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, Benitez added.

The work of this special unit would be "humanitarian and extrajudicial", diplomats in Havana announced.

Bogota and the rebels plan to share information about those missing and the places where unidentified victims have been buried.

In September, negotiators from both sides

signed a deal

on justice for crimes committed during the conflict that erupted in 1964 in the aftermath of a peasant uprising in Columbia and killed more than 220,000 people.

Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos vowed that a

definitive peace deal

with the FARC rebels would be signed within six months.

das/se (AFP, EFE)

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