Colombian government, rebel group FARC to sign historic deal

The agreement will put an end to the 52-year-old war which has killed over a quarter of a million people.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Once the peace agreement is signed, the FARC rebel group will disarm and transition into a political movement. FARC members have been preparing for the ratification process, including at a camp (pictured) near El Diamante in Yari Plains, Colombia.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timochenko will sign a peace deal on Monday, ending a 52-year-old conflict which has killed over 250,000 people in the country.

As part of the agreement, FARC or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will give up arms and transition from a left-wing guerrilla movement into a political party. It will hand over weapons to the United Nations over the next 180 days.  

Four years of negotiations to end the deadly war resulted in a soft peace accord on August 24, followed by a ceasefire. Monday's signing will see once notorious enemies shake hands for the first time on Colombian soil, in front of world leaders.

Some 2,500 foreign and local dignitaries will attend the ceremony in the colonial city of Cartagena, where huge billboards call on Colombians to accept the peace plan.

Guests include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro, US Secretary of State John Kerry and victims of the conflict.

There is widespread relief at seeing an end to the bloodshed and kidnappings which have defined the past few decades and stymied Latin America's fourth-largest economy.

However, the deal has caused divisions in the country. Some, including influential former president Alvaro Uribe, are angered the accord allows rebels to enter congress without serving any jail time.


Colombians will vote on whether to implement the agreement on October 2.  Polls indicate a majority support the peace deal.

FARC, which began as a peasant revolt, became a big player in cocaine trade. The group had as many as 20,000 fighters at its strongest. Colombians are nervous about how the remaining 7,000 rebels will integrate into society though most people are optimistic the deal will have a positive impact. 

TRTWorld and agencies