Bogota, Aug 28 (IANS) The signing ceremony for a peace deal that Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) militant group finalised this week will take place late September.
Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas on Saturday made the announcement to reporters after a meeting with armed forces commanders, EFE news reported.
“As soon as we have the formal date for the signing, that will be ‘D-Day,’ which will be between September 20 and 26 depending on the schedules of the dignitaries who are to be present,” Villegas said.
The day after the accord is signed will mark the start of a 180-day period for the leaving aside of the FARC’s weapons, which are to be turned in to a UN mission.
The weapons will initially be stored in containers and then later melted down to make three peace monuments – one in Colombia and two others at the UN headquarters in New York and in Cuba, which hosted the three and a half years of formal peace talks that concluded on Wednesday with the definitive accord.
Villegas did not indicate the venue for the final signing ceremony but said numerous dignitaries from around the world would attend, adding that he was confident a definitive date would be announced next week.
Before the signing ceremony, the accord hammered out in Havana must be approved at a FARC congress that will be held between September 13-19 in the jungles of southern Colombia, a guerrilla spokesman confirmed to EFE on Saturday.
The following step will be an October 2 plebiscite in which Colombians will go to the polls to decide whether or not to approve the peace deal.