Reuters International

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos addresses a United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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BOGOTA (Reuters) - Fifteen members of Colombia's cabinet presented their resignations to President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday, paving the way for tax reform and changes ahead of a likely peace accord with Marxist FARC rebels later this year, the president's press office said.

The joint resignations, a routine protocol before a cabinet shuffle, comes as the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) enter the final phase of talks that began in late 2012 and are aimed at ending five decades of war.

Santos, whose approval ratings have slumped in recent months, is expected to make changes to his team during the next week.

Santos is also set to begin official talks with the smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army.

While Colombians are enthusiastic at the prospect of an end to the conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people since it began in 1964, they have become impatient at the pace of talks coupled with a slowing economy, high inflation and the prospect of additional taxes to replace revenue from falling oil income.

German Arce was named mines and energy minister earlier this week.

(Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Diane Craft)

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