Colombia’s largest rebel group declared a unilateral ceasefire ahead of a June 15 presidential poll runoff between incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos and his rival Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

“We want to tell the country our decision to re-declare a unilateral ceasefire during the second round of the presidential election,” Xinhua quoted the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Saturday stated in a letter posted on its website as saying.

“Our units are aware of the ceasefire with state armed forces or economic infrastructure from June 9 to June 30,” said the letter signed by FARC leader Timoleon Gimenez.

Mr. Santos lost to Mr. Zuluaga in the first-round vote May 25, during which the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s second largest rebel group, also declared a week-long ceasefire.

Mr. Zuluaga, a protege of former President Alvaro Uribe who has steadfastly opposed negotiating with the rebels in favour of a military strategy, fell short of the 50 per cent vote needed to avoid a runoff.

The peace talks, launched by Mr. Santos with the FARC in November 2012 to end the country’s prolonged violence, have so far reached agreement on agrarian reform and political participation.

The five-decade-long armed conflict has killed 220,000 and displaced 4.5 million people.

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