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Colombia and FARC rebels agree on key issue for peace negotiations

Colombia's government and FARC rebels have reached an agreement on the critical issue of the guerrilla group's future in politics. The move marks a key step towards an end to their decades-long war.

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Colombia, FARC reach key deal

The government of Colombia and FARC rebels announced on Wednesday they'd reached an agreement on the rebels' participation in politics, once they end their insurgency. No further details were given.

"We have reached fundamental agreement on the second point of the agenda," they said in a joint statement read out by a Cuban diplomat, Rodolfo Benitez.

The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has battled a dozen governments since it began as an agrarian struggle against rural inequality but has been weakened over the past 10 years by a heavy US-backed offensive. The conflict has killed more than 200,000 people since it began almost five decades ago.

So far negotiators in the talks, which are being mediated by Cuba and Norway, have reached an accord on only one other point out of five key issues - how to approach land reform and rural development issues.

Other points that remain to be settled include agreements on drug trafficking, compensation for the victims of the conflict and the end of hostilities.

hc/jr (Reuters, AFP)

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