BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he expected to be able to announce later Wednesday that a historic peace deal had been concluded with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group.
“The negotiators at this moment are in Havana putting the finishing touches on the peace deal,” Santos said at an education event in Bogota.
“We should all be very pleased because today is a very special day,” the president said, adding that Colombians can now look forward to a future in which they will be able to say their country is “normal, at peace, reconciled, after being at war and in conflict for so long.”
Peace negotiations ended on Tuesday in the Cuban capital after three and a half years, and the definitive deal is expected to be signed in the coming days in Colombia.
Before that agreement is inked, Santos is to present the text to Congress so it can set a date for a referendum.
The president said it was a fortunate coincidence that he was due to speak at a UN General Assembly meeting on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, because that would allow him to present the agreement to the world.
Santos is scheduled to provide details on the deal in a speech Wednesday evening; if confirmed in the plebiscite, which could be held next month, it would put an end to more than a half-century of armed conflict.
During the talks, which formally got underway in November 2012, the two sides reached agreement on issues including land reform, political participation, drugs and drug crop, and redress for the victims of the strife.