Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader “Timochenko” signed a bilateral ceasefire Thursday. The deal marks the beginning of the demobilization and disarmament of Colombia’s largest far-left guerrilla group.
Santos and Timochenko — accompanied by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, the presidents of seven Latin American and Caribbean nations, and representatives from both the US and EU — signed to end to more than 52 years of political violence during a formal ceremony in Havana, where peace talks have been held since 2012.
According to the warring parties, the FARC will begin a process of demobilization and be disarmed 180 days after the signing of a final peace deal.
The military will immediately end operations against the FARC.
Within a week after a final peace deal is signed, the FARC’s front leaders will have to present themselves at 22 transitional demobilization areas located throughout the country.
Around these areas, a one-kilometer security zone will be implemented where members of the security forces, the long-time enemies of the guerrillas, mat not appear.
Meanwhile, Colombian authorities will assume control of areas where the FARC is currently the de facto authority and increase operations that seek to dismantle paramilitary successor groups.
A limited number of FARC leaders will be allowed to travel to take part in further processes of peace building and the guerrillas’ political integration.
These processes will be permanently monitored and guaranteed by personnel of the United Nations and the CELAC, the union for Latin American and Caribbean states.
The signing of a final will take place in Colombia, and not in Havana, where peace talks are now in their final phase, said Santos.
The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state in a conflict that has left more than 260,000 dead and approximately 7 million displaced.
If a peace deal has been agreed on, the FARC and the state have agreed to undergo a transitional justice process after which the then-former guerrillas would be taking part in mainstream politics.
Meanwhile and with the support of the international community, far-stretching political and social reforms will take place, particularly in the countryside where the FARC originates from.