Colombia and FARC reach deal to battle drug trade

FARC negotiator Ivan Marquez says the agreement includes reparations for victims of coca plantation spraying
Colombia\’s government and main rebel group FARC on Friday announced an agreement to jointly combat illicit drugs in the South American country, which was long the world\’s leading cocaine producer.
In a joint statement, the FARC and government negotiators on Friday said the deal was part of a "comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal drugs" which has "financed the conflict" between rebels and the government.
The Farc, which controls large patches of rural Colombia, is believed to be partly funded by money generated by the illegal drug trade.
This was the third on a six-point peace agenda being negotiated in Cuba.
Last year, government officials and the left-wing Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) agreed on land reform and political participation.
A week-long ceasefire was also struck between the two sides as part of ongoing peace negotiations and as the country prepares to elect its next president on May 25.
While the FARC is the largest single armed group, Colombia’s government is battling a variety of fighters ranging from organised Marxist rebels to hired-soldiers linked to landowning elites.
President Juan Manuel Santos has staked his re-election campaign on peace negotiations. His closest challenger, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, is running a hard-right campaign opposed to negotiations with armed groups.
Most voters support peace talks with the FARC, according to polls, but many do not believe those alone will end the violence. 
More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than five million internally displaced during Colombia\’s civil conflict, which has its roots in the 1960s.
Source: Agencies
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