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26 August, 2016

Historic agreement: FARC and Colombia govt to announce final deal

FARC to participate in Colombia's 2018 elections

In a landmark moment in Colombia's history, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's left-wing FARC rebels are set to announce a final peace accord Wednesday in Havana, Cuba, after nearly four years of negotiations between the two sides of the conflict, according to sources close to the peace process.

A deal is imminent to close the negotiations,” a government official told reporters Tuesday, adding that an announcement would likely take place around 7 p.m. local time in Havana. Earlier on Tuesday, FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez, known as Timochenko, wrote on his Twitter account, "We are at the doors of important announcements that bring us close to the final deal." The Twitter account of the government peace negotiation team shared a photo of FARC and government negotiators, standing interspersed together, with the caption, "The day is approaching."

The two sides of the negotiating table have been in the process of reviewing a draft deal in recent days. The document is set to be made public Wednesday afternoon. The historic deal will mark the end of 52 years of armed internal conflict between government forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, founded in 1964 on Marxist demands for agrarian reform and rights for rural communities. The conflict is the longest-running civil war in Latin America.

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Colombia’s soon-to-demobilize FARC guerilla army will participate in the country’s next general elections in 2018 as part of the final peace agreement with the government that ends a civil war that has raged for 52 years.

In a government press conference Thursday, the day after the much-anticipated announcement of a final peace deal and the end of negotiations in Havana, Cuba, official negotiators stressed that the historic agreement offers an opportunity for a new era of political participation.

According to the final text of the peace agreement, the FARC will be guaranteed five seats in both Colombia’s lower house of Congress and the Senate in the next two election cycles in 2018 and 2022. The movement will still run in the elections as part of the process of securing those seats. Only if the FARC’s new political party falls short of winning the five seats would the remainder of guaranteed representatives be assigned.

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