Colombia's FARC rebels to keep leader Timochenko: commander

El Diamante (Colombia) (AFP) - Colombia's FARC rebels will keep Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez as their leader when they relaunch as a political party under a historic peace deal, a commander said Thursday.

"There's no doubt that Timochenko will be confirmed" as head of the organization that replaces the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) under the peace process, commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told AFP.

Jimenez, 57, whose real name is Rodrigo Londono, has worked to guide the FARC toward a negotiated end to the conflict since becoming their commander in chief in 2011.

After taking over from Alfonso Cano, who was killed in a military raid, Jimenez wrote a letter to President Juan Manuel Santos proposing fresh peace talks.

Now, after nearly four years of negotiations, he and Santos are set to sign the final accord Monday.

Under the agreement the FARC -- a Marxist guerrilla army launched in 1964 -- has pledged to disarm and turn itself into a political party.

The rebels are currently holding what leaders hope will be their last conference as a guerrilla army, where they are due to vote on the peace deal.

FARC leaders say they have overwhelming support from their delegates.

Once the deal is signed, Colombians will vote on it in a decisive referendum on October 2.

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