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Colombia, FARC sign historic peace deal

The deal was signed with pens made out of real bullets for the occasion. In photo: Cuban President Raul Castro greets Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and the leader of the FARC, Rodrigo Londono on September 26, 2016 Photograph: (AFP)

Cartagena, Colombia Sep 26, 2016, 11.45 PM (IST)

The Colombian government and the leftist FARC rebel force signed a historic peace agreement on Monday to end 52 years of civil war.

President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Timoleon Jimenez, signed the deal at a ceremony in the city of Cartagena.

"Today we are experiencing the happiness of a new dawn for Colombia," President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter ahead of the signing.

"...a new stage in our history, that of a country at peace," he wrote.

The deal was signed with pens made out of recycled bullets used in the conflict. An inscription on the side of the pens reads: "Bullets wrote our past. Education, our future," CNN reported.

The guests at the event included US secretary of state John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Cuban President Raul Castro.

The 2,500 attendees wore white for the 70-minute ceremony, AFP reported.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had, on Friday, voted unanimously for a peace deal with the Colombian government, ending five decades of war. 

Their chief peace negotiator announced the peace accord was finalised after four years negotiations in Havana. 

"The war is over, long live Colombia, long live peace," FARC commander Ivan Marquez told reporters following a secret vote at the close of a guerrilla congress on the southern Yari Plains.

"The guerrillas... have given their unanimous backing to the final accord," he said

FARC will be taken off the list of terrorist organistaions after the peace deal comes into effect, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday.

The suspension will allow the temporary lifting of sanctions linked to FARC's presence on the list -- including the freezing of assets, AFP said.

The five-point peace accord covers agricultural reform, an end to the illegal drugs trade, victims' reparations, FARC political participation and demobilisation.

Under the agreement, the FARC will continue to push for social change as a political party. It received 10 unelected seats in Congress until 2026. Timochenko, 57, is expected to remain the leader of FARC's new political party. His real name is Rodrigo Londono but he is better known by the aliases Timoleon Jimenez and "Timochenko."

"The war is over," he wrote on Twitter. "We are all going to build the peace."

The Colombians will now vote on the deal in an October 2 plebiscite, the final go-ahead for rebels to demobilise.

Polls suggest the peace deal will get widespread support from the citizens. 


(WION with inputs from AFP)

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