Updated 07:34 AM EDT, Mon, Sep 16, 2019

Colombia to Ask the US to Remove FARC from Terrorist List & Suspend Pending Arrests

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President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia is expecting to seek about $200 million annually during the visit to Washington later in the week. The aid is going to help pay for the reincorporation of members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) back into society.

The visit comes just weeks before Santos is set to sign an agreement with the FARC in a peace treaty to end a war that ravaged the South American country for five decades. Star Telegram reported that during the state visit to Washington, Santos is expected to seek support from Congress conservatives in backing him in the cause. Still, this endeavor may prove difficult, as some members are already questioning the decision of the US to continue giving millions to Colombia now that it has stabilized.

The Huffington Post mentioned that Colombia has been aided by the US for years in combating drug trade as well as poverty. However, from the almost $1 billion that it used to give annually, the Latin American nation now currently receives about a third of it -- around $300 million a year. However, in the visit to update US President Barack Obama regarding the peace talks, Santos is expected to ask for an increase of up to $500 million a year for about a decade.

Michael Shifter, president of Washington's Inter-American Dialogue research center said, "Even if everybody is on board with these peace agreements, the tricky part is to implement them. To implement them is very costly and difficult."

The Guardian noted that along with the additional budget, Santos is also said to ask the US to remove the FARC from its terrorist list and suspend arrest warrants on its members. In an interview, Santos said, "If [FARC members] sign the peace deal, that will be because they committed themselves to disarm, and to make the transition toward a legal life."

Once the peace deal is finalized, the State Department should consider making the said changes as quickly as possible. Santos remains positive about the possibility, adding that the faster the FARC is removed from the list, the better. "Any effort by the United States to allow us to apply transitional justice, for example by suspending the arrest warrants, would help us tremendously," he said.

Still, the peace treaty does not mean that the Colombian government is going to let the FARC's bad behavior slide. If they continue to enrich themselves through drugs or similar acts, Santos said they will be "extradited."

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