Colombia signs peace deal with FARC rebel group

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (R) and FARC-EP leftist guerrilla commander Ivan Marquez (L) shake hands after the signing of a new peace agreement in Havana, on November 12, 2016.  (Getty Images)

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (R) and FARC-EP leftist guerrilla commander Ivan Marquez (L) shake hands after the signing of a new peace agreement in Havana, on November 12, 2016.
(Getty Images)

HAVANA — Colombia’s government and the FARC rebel group signed a peace accord Saturday after years of negotiations and half a century of conflict, according to tweets by the parties involved.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Saturday evening on Twitter that he has “great news for the country” and would be addressing the nation at 8 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, one of the chief negotiators of the FARC guerrilla movement, Ivan Marquez, tweeted, “The new peace accord is the victory for Colombia.”

That tweet was followed by one from the leader of FARC, Timoleón Jiménez — known by his nom de guerre “Timochenko” — who wrote, “At this moment, delegation chiefs from the government and FARC are signing final agreement.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement saying, “I want to congratulate the government and people of Colombia on achieving a revised peace agreement.”

A peace deal negotiated earlier this year with FARC rebels was unexpectedly defeated by Colombian voters in October. Many were angered by what they saw as insufficient punishment for those who perpetrated a litany of crimes against their people.

Negotiations for a peace deal continued after the defeat.

“President Santos and his negotiating team, those from the ‘No’ campaign, and other important sectors of Colombian society deserve credit for engaging in a far-reaching and respectful national dialogue following the plebiscite,” Kerry said.

He said the United States will “support full implementation of the final peace agreement.”