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The Colombian government and the leftist rebel group FARC announced Wednesday that they had reached a bilateral ceasefire, a development being heralded as the signal of the end of over five decades of bloody conflict.
“We have successfully reached an agreement for a definitive bilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities,” both sides said in a joint statement read in Havana, where peace talks have been taking place for three years.
The accord, Reuters reports, “brings into sight an end to a conflict that began as a 1960s peasant revolt before exploding into a cocaine-fueled war that has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced millions.” It also follows, as the Associated Press notes, “a 15-year, U.S.-backed military offensive” targeting FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
A final peace deal is expected to be signed July 20, according to President Juan Manuel Santos.
“Today is a wonderful day,” said Piedad Cordoba, a peace activist and former Colombian senator. “For those who worked for peace when doing so was a crime, to achieve the end of the war is a poetic victory. What immense joy.”
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