Bogota | Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the army today to observe a definitive ceasefire with the FARC rebels after the two sides reached a deal to end their half-century conflict.
“As head of state and commander in chief of our armed forces, I have ordered a definitive ceasefire with the FARC starting at midnight on Monday, August 29,” he said in an address from the steps of Congress, where he formally presented the historic peace deal.
“The armed conflict with the FARC has ended,” he said to applause.
The ceasefire order came after peace negotiators from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government announced Wednesday they had concluded a final accord after nearly four years of talks in Cuba.
The accord must now be ratified in a referendum on October 2 to take effect. The “Yes” camp must win a majority and gather a total of at least 4.4 million votes — 13 percent of the electorate.
The United Nations, United States and European Union have all hailed the peace deal.
The government is still fighting a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), whose ongoing kidnappings have derailed efforts to open peace negotiations.
The Colombian conflict has killed an estimated 260,000 people, uprooted 6.8 million and left 45,000 missing.
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