The Colombian government and FARC guerrilla group have announced a definitive deal to end bilateral hostilities and clear the way for a final peace agreement.
A joint statement released today read: “The delegations of the National Government and the FARC-EP inform the public that we have successfully arrived at an agreement for a ceasefire and a definitive end to bilateral hostilities.”
The deal will be formally presented tomorrow in Havana, when the peace delegations from both sides will be joined by mediators Cuban President Raúl Castro and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, as well as the presidents from observer countries Chile (Michelle Bachelet) and Venezuela (Nicolás Maduro).
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will also attend the ceremony.
“So that this horrible night will end and a path to peace and hope be opened, on Thursday 23rd June we will announce #TheLastDayOfTheWar”, wrote FARC Secretary Carlos Lozada on Twitter.
Though details will be released tomorrow, the ceasefire deal is expected to lay out how the FARC will demobilise and give up their arms after a final deal is reached. The UN will be responsible for monitoring and verifying that the FARC comply with the agreement.
Reaching an “end to the conflict” was the last remaining item on the five-point plan to securing a historic peace agreement to end the 50-year conflict.
President Juan Manuel Santos said earlier this week that he expected a peace deal to be signed by 20th July, Colombia’s independence day.
“The day we sign [the peace deal] the FARC will cease to exist,” said Santos in a press conference yesterday. “All of you here have lived all your life hearing about or suffering the consequences of this war. Imagine what it means for them to disappear. It is a very, very important step.”
The government has assured that the final deal will be put forward for the public to approve or reject in a national referendum.
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