Colombia and FARC rebels sign ceasefire deal in Cuba

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Signing Ceremony: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

A ceasefire has been signed in Cuba on Thursday between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group, known as FARC.

The UN Secretary General is in Havana where he witnessed the signing of the deal and the laying down of arms between the two parties.

Peace talks between Colombia's authorities and the main armed opposition group began three years ago, but the conflict has gone on for 50 years.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Some 600,000 people have reportedly died since the long-running conflict between Colombia and the FARC began in the 1960s. 

A new political mission led by the UN has been authorized to help Colombia transition to a lasting peace. 

In separate meetings, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the FARC commander, Timoshenko. 

The UN chief's spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said the signing of the ceasefire is a "clear demonstration" of the parties' commitment to reach a final peace agreement. 

"With the President and the commander, he also discussed pending matters in the negotiations, as well as ongoing preparations for the deployment of the UN Mission in Colombia. As you know, the Mission will start operating as soon as the Final Peace Agreement is signed, under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault." 

Praising Venezuela for its role in the Colombian peace process, Mr Ban called for an inclusive dialogue in the country following a meeting with its President. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’03″

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