The signing of a peace treaty between the Columbian government and the country's largest rebel group, Farc, has officially ended over 50 years of conflict in the country, AP reported. Around 2,20,000 people were killed in the conflict and lakhs displaced, according to a CNN report. The accord was signed by Columbia's President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londono, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) on Monday. The country's citizens will have to ratify it in a referendum on October 2.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and 15 Latin American presidents were among those that attended the ceremony in Cartegena. The historic deal was signed with pens, made of used bullets, which bore the inscription "Bullets wrote our past. Education, our future".
Santos said, "I, as head of state of the fatherland we all love, want to welcome you to democracy.” Londono, known as Timochenko, praised the treaty as an example to war-torn Syria and the dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. National Liberation Army of ELN, Colombia's second largest rebel group, has agreed to a ceasefire deal until the referendum.
Farc, a group that follows Marxist-Leninist ideology, has been fighting for the redistribution of wealth in the country. As part of the treaty, the group will have to disarm and move into United Nations disarmament zones within 180 days. Officials said Farc will be transformed into a political party, which will have 10 seats in the 268-member Congress. It will no longer be listed as a terror organisation by the European Union. While amnesty will be granted to those accused of "political crimes", those accused of war crimes will face trial, BBC reported.