Cartagena, September 27: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko finally put to end a half-century war that killed a quarter of a million people and made their nation a byword for violence. Around 2,500 foreign and local dignitaries witnessed the ceremony in Cartagena.
After four years of negotiations in Havana, Santos, 65, and Timochenko shook hands on Monday on Colombian soil for the first time. A pen made out of a bullet was used to sign the agreement to end Latin America's longest-running conflict turns the FARC fighters into a political party fighting at the ballot box instead of the battlefield they have occupied since 1964.
United Nations chief Ban-Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro, US Secretary of State John Kerry and victims of the conflict were the guests at the ceremony. "The UN will assist in the implementation of the accord and offer Colombians our complete support at a time that sees a new destiny for the nation," Ban said.
A conflict that lasted over five decades was between Colombia government and FARC in order to increase their influence on Colombian territory. FARC claimed to be fighting for the rights of the poor in Colombia to protect them from government violence and to provide social justice through communism. The treaty signed requires rebels to give up their weapons and participate in a transitional justice process toward reintegration.