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Colombian gov't, FARC reach land reform agreement: rebel spokesman


08:33, May 27, 2013

HAVANA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- After about six months of negotiations, representatives of the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group have reached an agreement on agrarian reform, a rebel spokesman announced here on Sunday.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said that it had reached a deal with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos on the first of a handful of issues the two sides must tackle before the rebels would agree to give up their armed struggle.

"We have reached very important agreements," FARC spokesman Ricardo Tellez said before the two delegations began their discussions at Havana's convention center, where talks have been held since last November.

"We are opposing sides, but we have been looking for areas of reconciliation in the most important matters," said Tellez.

The FARC said that the two sides would now move on to the second point of the previously-agreed agenda, making it possible for the rebels to transition from an armed movement to a political movement or party.

"We expect to make major progress on that matter as well, in order to really open up democracy in Colombia," said Tellez.

According to an official statement issued on Saturday to the press, delegates of both sides were expected to make a joint declaration later on Sunday at the convention center.

The two delegations are currently holding their ninth round of negotiations since the peace talks began on Nov. 19 in an attempt to end Latin America's longest-running civil war.

Other issues on the agenda include disarmament, compensations for victims in the five decades of fighting, and drug trafficking - - a trade the rebels have traditionally taxed to raise funds for their movement.

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