After years of talks and a 52-year civil war, the Colombian government and FARC rebel group announced they have reached agreement on all terms of a peace deal.
The announcement of the final deal came from negotiators in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday evening, and was greeted with cheers across Colombia’s capital Bogota and elsewhere.
“The war is over,” said Humberto de la Calle, the Colombian government’s top negotiator, quoted the Washington Post.
“We have finished fighting with weapons and will now do battle with ideas,” said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) lead negotiator, Ivan Marquez.
“The United States strongly supports this accord that can achieve a just and lasting peace for all Colombians,” said U.S. Secretary John Kerry in a statement.
More than 220,000 have died in the fighting between the government and Marxist rebels over five decades. The rebels will agree to lay down their arms, but many say they must be punished for their crimes of the past. The agreement includes special peace tribunals to handle war crimes cases and amnesty for those who committed lesser crimes.
Alan Jara, who was a former captive of the rebels, said forgiveness must come before lasting peace and progress. “Not to forgive would keep me captive and not allow me to get rid of the anger and move on,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “For peace to exist, Colombians have no option but to forgive.”
The public will vote on the peace deal on Oct. 2.