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OAS to Monitor Disarmament Of Colombian Paramilitary Units

The Organization of American States has agreed to monitor the disarmament of Colombia’s paramilitary forces, lending significant international support to a peace process that has proved highly divisive. OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria, a former Colombian president, agreed in weekend talks with President Alvaro Uribe to send representatives here to verify a paramilitary cease-fire and help disarm the fighters following a negotiated agreement between the government and the militia. Gaviria likened the endeavor to the OAS mission in Nicaragua that oversaw the disarmament of 22,000 U.S.-backed insurgents in the 1990s. But Gaviria’s decision, made without consulting the 35 nations that make up the OAS, has angered some diplomats and human rights officials here who said it bestows international legitimacy on a process that remains a work in progress. Essential questions such as how paramilitary leaders would be punished, including those accused of massacring civilians, have yet to be resolved. Full Story

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