Colombia, FARC rebels announce historic peace deal to end civil war
Colombia’s government and FARC rebels have announced that they have reached a historic peace accord to end their half-century civil war, the last major armed conflict in the Americas. After nearly four years of peace talks in Cuba, the two sides said they have successfully concluded negotiations and reached a final deal.
“The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord... on the end of the conflict and the building of a stable and enduring peace in Colombia,” they said in a joint statement read out in Havana.
Speaking earlier in Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the “historic” news. “We have fortunately managed to reach a safe harbor,” said the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez.
Over the past few days, the government and the FARC had been discussing a range of unresolved topics, and worked late into the night Tuesday to draft a joint statement, sources from the two delegations said.
Santos smiled as he spoke of a “very special day.” “May this country that you are imagining and painting become a reality,” he told a group of children taking part in a government-sponsored art competition called “Paint a Colombia in Peace.”
Once a peace deal is signed, the FARC will begin moving its fighters from their jungle and mountain
hideouts into disarmament camps set up by the UN, which is helping monitor the ceasefire. The deal must still be endorsed by Colombians in a referendum. Santos’s top rival, former president Alvaro Uribe, is leading the “No” campaign, arguing his successor has given too much away to the FARC. The war, which began in 1964, is the last major armed conflict in the Americas. It has killed 260,000 people, uprooted 6.8 million and left 45,000 missing.