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Thursday, August 25, 2016, 11:06

Colombia, FARC usher in peace

By Reuters

Colombia, FARC usher in peace
HAVANA - Colombia's government and leftist FARC rebels signed a final peace deal on Wednesday to end a 50-year-old guerrilla war, one of the world's longest conflicts which took the resource-rich country to the brink of collapse.

The two sides said they had reached an agreement to end the conflict and build a stable peace, in a joint statement read out by representatives of Cuba and Norway, who are mediators in the talks.

"We have arrived at a final agreement... for an end of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia," said Cuban representative Rodolfo Benitez, reading from the statement before the agreement was signed by lead negotiators for the rebels and the government.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the deal.

The historic accord foresees the demobilization of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose cocaine-funded rebels fought the government in a war that killed at least 220,000 people. Tens of thousands disappeared and millions fled their homes because of the violence.

The deal, opposed by two former Colombian presidents, still needs to be voted on in a referendum before it becomes law.

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