May 30 (UPI) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said his administration and FARC agreed to grant rebel militants an additional 20 days to disarm as part of a peace agreement backed by the United Nations.
During a televised speech on Monday, Santos said the deadline of Tuesday for firearms to be relinquished to the United Nations would be extended.
"In a joint agreement with the United Nations and the FARC, we have agreed that the arms hand-over will not end tomorrow as had been planned, but instead within 20 days," Santos said. "The change in date does not in any way affect the firm decision and clear commitment of the government and the FARC to comply with the accord."
More than 220,000 people have died and 5 million have been internally displaced due to the Colombian conflict since the FARC's Marxist-inspired founding in 1964. The militant rebel group has been involved in drug-trafficking, kidnapping and other illicit activity to fund its insurgency.
"After six months of signing the agreement, the peace is irreversible. We are going to comply with what was agreed. I invite you to meet the call of reconciliation," Santos said in a statement.
The deadline extension was granted after FARC leaders argued they could not meet the original deadline because of delays affecting special camps that were set up to house rebels who will attempt to transition into civilian life.
Santos said the rebels would be allowed to stay in those camps to reincorporate into society until August 1.
"There will be an additional 20 days for disarmament and 60 days for reincorporation. It's nothing to properly finish 53 years of confrontation and fratricidal violence," Santos said.