HAVANA – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC guerrillas have agreed to a bilateral and definitive cease-fire, a major development that brings their nearly four-year-old peace process close to conclusion.
The details of the cease-fire deal are to be unveiled on Thursday at a ceremony to be attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leaders of the guarantor and accompanying nations to the peace process, which was launched in late 2012.
“The delegations from the national government and the FARC-EP would like to inform the public that we have successfully reached an agreement on a definitive bilateral cease-fire,” the negotiators said in a joint statement released Wednesday in Havana.
The two sides also achieved consensus on aspects crucial to ending the decades-old conflict, including how Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebels will demobilize and disarm, security guarantees for the insurgents and the fight against paramilitary groups and other armed actors that may “threaten the implementation of the accords and the construction of peace.”
Besides Santos, the FARC’s top commander Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko,” and representatives of the peace process’ two guarantor nations – Cuban President Raul Castro and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende – will attend Thursday’s event.
The presidents of the two accompanying nations to the process, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, also will travel to Havana for the ceremony.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be attending as a special guest.
The government and the FARC earlier concluded agreements on land reform, political participation, drugs and drug crop, and redress for the victims of the strife.
The Colombian government maintains that an eventual final peace accord should be put to a vote in a referendum.