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UN Security Council approves mission to monitor Colombia ceasefire

The United Nations has agreed to dispatch diplomats to monitor talks between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. The two sides have been at war with each other for more than five decades.

The unanimous decision by the UN Security Council was made on Monday, not long after both Bogota and FARC requested that the UN participate in the ceasefire negotiations.

The British-drafted resolution will see the creation of a 12-month diplomatic mission to the South American country, which has been mired in a decades-long civil war between the government and leftist FARC rebels.

"This concrete mandate of the Security Council will benefit all Colombians and will contribute to build confidence in a country determined to overcome the aftermath of a decades-long conflict that caused too much suffering for generations," Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin told reporters following the vote, according to the Reuters news agency.

Peace in sight

Bogota officials and FARC leaders issued a

joint statement

last week requesting the UN's help in monitoring the rebels' disarmament, in what many observers said was a clear sign peace talks could finally be reaching an end.

Negotiators have set a March 23 deadline to end the conflict. Both sides have also agreed on a deal handling reparations for war victims.

Conflict first broke out between the government and the rebels in 1964, and has led to the deaths of some 220,000 people and the displacement of millions.

blc/cmk (Reuters, AP)

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