FARC rebels, Colombia government announce ceasefire agreement

The Colombian government and FARC rebels announced Wednesday a bilateral ceasefire in a historic deal that marks a critical step toward the signing of an overall peace agreement.

The definitive and bilateral agreement included stipulations on arms surrender, security guarantees and the fight against organized criminal organizations that include groups denoted as paramilitary, the government and FARC said in a statement.

They did not reveal specific details of the agreement, saying they would be made known Thursday at midday. The parties issued the communique in Havana, the seat of the peace process that started in November 2012.

An initial deadline of March 23 set by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was missed.

In the statement, the government and FARC said that a signing ceremony would be attended by Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timoleon Jimenez or Timochenko.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would also attend the signing.

"Major breakthrough in Colombian peace negotiations - on my way to Havana for historic signing ceremony between Colombian president and FARC," Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.

The Colombian civil war between the government and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has claimed more than 220,000 lives and displaced almost 5 million people during half a century of conflict.

Last update: Wed, 22/06/2016 - 21:20

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