By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Monday approved the creation of a U.N. mission of unarmed international observers to monitor disarmament should Colombia's government and leftist FARC rebels reach a deal to end Latin America's longest war.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution that would establish a political mission for 12 months "to monitor and verify the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and the laying down of arms."
Colombia's government and FARC jointly asked the Security Council to help monitor and verify rebel disarmament should the two sides reach a deal to end their 50-year-old war, which has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions, by a March 23 deadline.
The rebels' willingness to make the request jointly with the government is a sign of progress as the two sides aim to reach a comprehensive peace agreement. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said last year he would make such an appeal to the United Nations. He staked his 2014 re-election on the peace talks.
The resolution asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present detailed recommendations for such a mission to the Security Council for consideration and approval within 30 days of the signing of a peace deal.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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