The UN welcomed Wednesday a joint request by the Colombian government and the leftist rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to deploy a UN political observer mission to monitor the implementation of a peace deal.
The government and FARC called for the measure in a joint communiqué Tuesday requesting the UN Security Council to set up an observer mission to serve as the international component of a three-party mechanism to monitor that both sides abide by a ceasefire.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the request and congratulated the government and the rebel forces "on yet another significant step toward the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict."
FARC are the largest and oldest guerrilla group in Latin America and once controlled large parts of Colombia. While they have been weakened over the years, experts believe that FARC are still active in 25 of Colombia’s 32 provinces and have a total of around 8,000 fighters.
The conflict between the rebels and the government has claimed more than 220,000 lives and displaced almost 5 million people over half a century.