U.S. revokes terrorist designation for Colombia's FARC

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday revoked its designation of the Colombian group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a foreign terrorist organization five years after it reached a peace deal with the Colombian government.

The 2016 peace accord ended the FARC's part in the Andean country's decades-old internal armed conflict, which has left millions displaced and more than 260,000 dead.

The group no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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The two dissident groups that have formed out of FARC, La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP, or People's Army, have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations, he added.

"The decision to revoke the designation does not change the posture with regards to any charges or potential charges in the United States against former leaders of the FARC, including for narcotrafficking," Blinken said.

Removing the terrorist designation will make it easier for the United States to support the implementation of the accord, he said.

The decision will allow U.S. government agencies like the Agency for International Development to work on peace implementation in parts of Colombia where demobilized FARC soldiers are located.

The U.S. action was welcomed by the Colombian government.

"This is a decision which further facilitates the support we receive from the government of the United States on all fronts of implementation," said Emilio Archila, the Colombian official charged with carrying out the accord. He blamed Segunda Marquetalia for some targeted killings of former rebels.

Founded in 1964, FARC was responsible for summary executions and kidnappings of thousands of people, including Americans.

"The designation of FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia is directed at those who refused to demobilize and those who are engaged in terrorist activity," Blinken said.

The United States also designated the leaders of those organizations as specially designated global terrorists, he said.

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Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Alistair Bell

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