A peace agreement and challenges ahead

The June 23 ceasefire is undoubtedly a major step towards ending the rural insurgency which has plagued Colombia for the past half century. But the peace process is still at a delicate stage, and many challenges remain

The World Today
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On June 23 the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a permanent ceasefire agreement. The ceremony in Havana was attended by President Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño, the head of the FARC-EP, as well as seven other presidents, the UN Secretary-General, representatives from Norway and Cuba as guarantors of the negotiations, and the US and European Union special envoys.

Under the ceasefire agreement, the FARC guerrillas will lay down their weapons within six months after signing a final accord. The disarmament process will be implemented by the Colombian armed forces, FARC and a 500-member unarmed United Nations team which is charged with monitoring and verification. The FARC fighters will be demobilized by moving them to 23 transitional hamlet-based zones and eight encampments under the protection of state security forces. FARC members will then prepare themselves for reintegration into civilian life.

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