Colombia to sign historic peace deal on ending long conflict
More than 220,000 deaths, 8 million homeless and countless human rights violations: These are the tragic toll of South America’s oldest armed conflict, which begins to wind down with the signing Monday of a historic agreement between Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel movement to end a half-century of hostilities.
Underlining the significance of the deal, President Juan Manuel Santos and the top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a rebel fighter known by the alias Timochenko, were to sign the accord in the colonial city of Cartagena. Fifteen Latin American presidents as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry were on hand to witness the signing.
In a ceremony charged with symbolism befitting an historic moment, the more than 2,500 guests were asked to wear white as a sign of peace and Santos was to sign the accord.