Colombian Government Signs Historic Agreement with Farc Rebels

Cartagena, – The Colombian government and left-wing Farc rebels have signed a historic agreement that formally brings an end to 52 years of civil war. “Colombia celebrates, the planet celebrates because there is one less war in the world,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said, adding: “We will achieve any goal, overcome any hurdle and turn our nation into a country we’ve always dreamed of – a country in peace”.

The rebel leader Timoleon Jimenez, known as Timochenko, apologized to “all the victims of the conflict” and was greeted by cheers and applause. The guests dressed in white at the ceremony in Cartagena, to symbolize peace.

Dignitaries attending the ceremony included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban President Raul Castro. Ban told the ceremony: “You can look to the future with optimism. You are inviting Colombians to live in peace”.

As Kerry arrived in the country, he praised Santos’ efforts to secure the deal and pledged $390 million to help implement it. Hours before the signing, the EU announced it was removing the Farc from its list. “This decision will allow us to support the post-conflict programme and will be of benefit to all Colombians,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on social media.

The deal comes after four years of talks in Havana, Cuba, between President Santos and Timochenko. It must pass a referendum on Sunday before it can pass into law. Polls indicate the majority of Colombians will vote for it, although there has been some opposition, led by ex-president Alvaro Uribe.

Under the deal, the Farc will be relaunched as a political party. The rebels must now hand over weapons to the UN within 180 days. The last of the major Cold War conflicts killed 260,000 people and left six million internally displaced.

Source: Qatar News Agency