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Colombia, FARC rebels reach deal on drug trafficking

By Radina Gigova, CNN
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Sat May 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Colombia is one of the world's top cocaine producers
  • Agreement is part of a complex peace deal aimed at ending decades-long war
  • Government plans to launch program on illegal crop eradication

(CNN) -- The government of Colombia has reached an agreement with FARC rebels in the fight against drug trafficking and cultivation of illicit crops, both sides announced Friday.

Colombia is one of the world's top cocaine producers. The rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is estimated to make around $500 million from the illicit trade per year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I invite Colombians to maintain confidence in the process, in our negotiating team and that we will continue to do exactly what we said," President Juan Manuel Santos said.

He added that because of the agreement, Colombians should have more faith in the peace process.

The agreement is part of a complex peace deal with the rebel group aimed at ending the decades-long war.

As part of the deal, the government will launch a national program of illegal crop eradication and alternative development.

The government also promised to step up its efforts to combat corruption and money laundering, as well as address public health issues related to drug consumption.

The president, who is running for re-election, also announced Friday that FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) have agreed on a cease-fire during the May 25 presidential elections.

"Imagine a Colombia without coke? That is what is at our fingertips if we implement these agreements," Santos said.

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