Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia Farc: Peace deal signing date announced

file photo Image copyright AP
Image caption The deal was reached in Cuba, where President Raul Castro congratulated the Colombian president (L) and the Farc commander Rodrigo "Timochenko" Londono

The president of Colombia has announced that a peace deal between the country's government and Farc rebels will be formally signed on 26 September.

The deal ends 50 years of conflict that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced.

A ceasefire began on Monday but the deal must still clear two hurdles before it is formally ratified.

President Juan Manuel Santos called this "perhaps the most important announcement" of his life.

He said: "Peace will be signed on 26 September in [the Colombian city of] Cartagena."

There had been speculation that the deal would be signed at the UN headquarters in New York.

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Colombians will have a say on the deal in a public vote in October before it is fully made into law.

A majority of those who take part in the popular vote will have to answer "yes" to the question: "Do you support the final accord to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace?" for it to come into force.

The Farc group, which is on US and European lists of terrorist organisations, will hold a separate vote at a national conference.

Other groups in the armed conflict have not been part of these peace talks.

Who are the Farc?

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  • The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc, after the initials in Spanish) are Colombia's largest rebel group
  • The main enemy of the Farc have been the Colombian security forces. Farc fighters have attacked police stations and military posts, and ambushed patrols
  • They have been hit hard by the Colombian security forces over the past years

More about the rebels

The peace deal was reached after years of negotiations in Colombia. It includes:

  • A commitment that rebels will lay down arms within 180 days of a final peace deal
  • The creation of temporary transition zones and camps for the estimated 7,000 rebels
  • A provision that no civilians will be allowed to enter Farc camps, to guarantee rebel security
  • A provision that UN monitors will receive all the group's weapons

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