Colombian government, rebels reach historic peace agreement

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Bogota, Aug 25: The Colombian government and the outlawed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached a historic agreement to conclude the peace negotiations that started nearly four years.

The final document was endorsed on Wednesday (Aug 24) by the chief negotiator of the FARC delegation, commander Ivan Marquez, and his government counterpart Humberto de la Calle, followed by the representatives of the guarantor countries, Rodolfo Benitez of Cuba and Dag Nylander of Norway, Xinhua news agency reported.

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De la Calle stressed the significance of the deal to end the suffering of the Colombian people, saying that "the best thing we did to end the war was to sit down to talk about peace".

"It is the moment to give peace a chance," he added.

The peace accord will be submitted to a popular plebiscite for the Colombian people to have the final say on the end of a 52-year civil war.

The negotiating process, which began in November 2012 in Havana, saw Colombia and the FARC reach agreements on mechanisms for access to land for poor farmers, on transforming the guerrilla movement into a political party, on the fight against drug trafficking, on mine clearance, and on the search for missing persons.

The conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC started in the 1960s as an uprising for land rights.

It has left about 260,000 people dead, 45,000 missing and nearly 7 million displaced, according to official figures.

IANS

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