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Homeland Security

10 September 2003

State Dept. Re-designates Colombia's AUC as Foreign Terrorist Organization

Paramilitary group is known for its numerous killings, abductions

The U.S. State Department has announced its re-designation of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym AUC, as a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. The AUC was first so designated in 2001.

In a September 10 statement, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher described the AUC as a paramilitary group notorious for its "numerous killings and abductions," which the group carries out "in order to terrorize and intimidate Colombian citizens and government officials." Violence caused by paramilitary and guerrilla outfits has plagued Colombia throughout the country's decades-old civil war.

Boucher indicated that the United States supports Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe and his government in their efforts to combat terrorism.

Following is the text of Boucher's statement, with further details:

(begin text)

Office of the Spokesman
September 10, 2003


Re-designation of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Today, September 10, 2003, the State Department is announcing the re-designation of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the AUC, as a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. That organization was first designated two years ago.

The group, also referred to as autodefensas or paramilitaries, has continued its terrorist activities during the past two years. It has committed numerous killings and abductions in order to terrorize and intimidate Colombian citizens and government officials. The group's terrorism has continued after its December 2002 declaration of a cease-fire. We support the efforts of the Government of Colombia to combat terrorism, and hope that the peace negotiations now underway result in the complete termination of terrorist activity by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.

This re-designation of this group, published today in the Federal Register, keeps the current number of foreign terrorist organizations at 36. Although the Department reviews designated groups every two years, the Secretary of State is authorized to make new designations at any time, or to revoke a designation at any time if the circumstances have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or if the national security of the United States warrants a revocation, under the procedures set forth in the relevant statute.

The effect of the re-designation is that it remains illegal for U.S. persons or persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States knowingly to provide material support or resources to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia; requires U.S. financial institutions to continue to take "blocking action" against the group's funds, and to report those funds to the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control; and maintains the inadmissibility to the United States of representatives and certain members of the group.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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