Rightist Militias in Colombia Offer to Disarm 3,000 of Their Fighters

A proposal by a coalition of rightist paramilitary groups to disarm 3,000 fighters was presented Friday to President Álvaro Uribe, a gesture that may reinvigorate deteriorating peace talks and lead to the largest one-time demobilization of insurgents in Colombia’s 40-year conflict. The 15,000-member United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a coalition of outlaw antirebel forces responsible for drug trafficking and mass killings, described its offer as a “great act of faith.” The announcement, made Thursday, came days after the magazine Semana released transcripts of disarmament talks that showed them near collapse. Diplomats and experts on Colombia’s conflict reacted cautiously to the development. They say there is no legal framework for the demobilization of top commanders or a plan to reincorporate 3,000 former fighters into Colombian society by the end of the year, as proposed. Full Story

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