The Latest: UN schedules meeting to discuss role in Colombia

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Posted: Aug 25, 2016 6:02 PM
The Latest: UN schedules meeting to discuss role in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Latest on Colombia's peace deal (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council has scheduled a meeting Friday morning to discuss the United Nations' role in helping the Colombian government implement the peace deal to end a half-century of hostilities with leftist rebels.

"We're going to hear exactly what has happened, what now needs to be done by the U.N.," Britain's deputy U.N. ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters Thursday. "There is an important task ahead for the U.N. to assist the government of Colombia in implementing the peace agreement, which is a historic occasion."

U.N. special representative Jean Arnault is expected to brief the council on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's recommendations for the U.N. mission in Colombia, which is charged with monitoring and verifying a cease-fire and helping with the disarmament of the rebels.

Ban said earlier this month that the political mission will operate in 40 widely dispersed locations and require about 450 observers and a number of civilians.

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2:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is congratulating Colombia for its peace deal with leftist rebels and is pledging to continue support for the U.S.' closest ally in Latin America if she's elected.

"Now Colombia must turn this agreement into a just and lasting peace. As President, I'll ensure that the United States remains their partner in that process," she said in a statement Thursday.

Her opponent, Republican Donald Trump, has yet to comment.

It was under Bill Clinton's presidency that the U.S. began pumping billions in anti-narcotics and counterinsurgency aid to Colombia's government. To date, more than $10 billion in assistance has been delivered

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12:30 p.m.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has declared a cease-fire against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia after reaching a historic deal to end a half-century of hostilities with the group.

Santos said on the steps of congress that the cease-fire would take effect at midnight Monday.

The FARC declared a unilateral ceasefire a year ago and the government has suspended aerial bombings against guerrilla camps. But Santos had always refused to declare an outright halt to military actions until a final deal was reached. That happened Wednesday after more than four years of negotiations.

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9:40 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is praising the new peace agreement between Colombia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

He's issued a statement saying, "The United States strongly supports this accord that can achieve a just and lasting peace for all Colombians."

Kerry also praises Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for "courage and leadership."

Thursday's message says the U.S. will stand with Colombians as they take steps to ensure a "just and lasting peace."

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9:30 a.m.

The Colombian government's chief peace negotiator says it will be "catastrophic" if Colombians fail to endorse the pact with the country's largest rebel group in an Oct. 2 referendum.

Humberto de la Calle notes that when previous Colombian peace drives failed, it took at least a decade to renew them.

De la Calle told a news conference Thursday that he's not yet sure when the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will formally sign the deal to end more than a half-century of conflict.

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9:30 a.m.

Colombia's government has published the final text of the peace accord and it weighs in at almost 300 pages.

President Juan Manuel Santos is required by law to publish the full text at least 30 days before the referendum to give Colombians a chance to review it before they vote.

Much of the text hammered out during four years of grueling talks had already been published previously. Few Colombians are likely to read the entire accord, a sprawling text that seems at once a political manifestation of historic grievances, romantic ideals and technical legal language that only a constitutional lawyer could appreciate.

A copy of the signed deal will be transferred for storage to the Swiss Federal Council in Bern so that it can have status as a special humanitarian agreement under the Geneva Conventions.