Colombia’s FARC declares definitive ceasefire

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Bagota, Aug 29 (IANS) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group on Sunday announced a definitive ceasefire, a media report said.

“As commander of all FARC military fronts, I order all our units and each of our fighters to definitively cease fire and fighting against the Colombian state starting at 2400 hours tonight,” Xinhua quoted top FARC leader Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez as saying.

The peace talks between the two sides were taking place in Havana, Cuba.

The announcement followed a similar one made by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday, who called on his country’s military to stop fighting the rebels.

“The FARC … received the news of the presidential order to the army with excitement. And as a result, we proceed, to give the corresponding order to our troops,” Timochenko said.

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“To the soldiers, marines, air force pilots, police and state security and intelligence agencies, we want to express our clear and definite willingness for reconciliation,” he said.

“Today, more than ever, we regret so much death and pain caused by the war,” he added, “the war is over, let’s live like brothers and sisters. Hopefully an armed insurrection will never happen again.”

A peace deal reached by the two sides after nearly four years of talks will be put to a referendum on October 2.

As part of the deal, the rebels will disarm and those who want to will be allowed to transition to a political movement or party.

The government, in turn, has pledged rural development and land reform.

The two sides will also work together to compensate victims of the fighting, fight drug trafficking, clear mines and search for missing persons.

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