Colombia, outlawed paramilitary agree to deal
BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- The leaders of an outlawed, far-right paramilitary group have agreed to lay down their arms and move to a small town in northern Colombia, where they will be watched by international observers, a government spokesman said Thursday.
The leaders of the AUC, the Spanish acronym for United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, will move to Santa Fe de Ralito, where their movements will be monitored by observers from the Organization of American States for a trial period of six months, said Ricardo Galan, the spokesman.
After that period, the program will be evaluated and a decision made whether to extend it, he said.
News of the accord came 20 days after the disappearance of Carlos Castaño, the leader of the 20,000-member AUC, Galan said.
The talks between the paramilitary group and the government that led to the agreement almost broke down after Castaño's disappearance.
Details were to be released at a news conference scheduled to take place Thursday evening in Bogota.
The AUC is based in northern Colombia, where its chief supporters -- landowners and drug traffickers -- are concentrated.
The U.S. State Department has declared the group a terrorist organization. It is accused of attacking leftist guerrillas and civilians it suspects of being leftist.
From Journalist Fernando Ramos.