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  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hold a joint news conference in Washington Feb. 5, 2016.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hold a joint news conference in Washington Feb. 5, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is "premature" to take the Colombian rebel group off the list.

The United States said Thursday that it would be “premature” and “inappropriate” to take Colombian guerilla group FARC off the list of terrorist organizations, before a final peace deal has been signed putting an end to half a century of conflict.

“There is not peace. Nothing has happened still that would change that into a relevant theme for this moment,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos.

The Colombian president told The Associated Press that the U.S. State Department should soon stop classifying the rebels as terrorists and take them off a list that they have been on since 1997.

The FARC, who as part of the peace negotiations gave up kidnappings and declared a unilateral cease-fire, have long demanded this measure from the U.S.

The move would be especially important now that the U.S. has pledged to support Colombia in the final transition to peace.

FARC is one of over 50 groups on the state department's designated foreign terrorist organizations, alongside the Islamic State group, Shining Path and Hamas.

According to guidelines, U.S. citizens are prohibited from providing any services to groups on the list, whose funds can be confiscated if a U.S. financial institution “becomes aware that it has possession of or control over funds.”

WATCH: What Does the Peace Mean for FARC Rebels?

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