Peace at last: Colombia rebels agree deal to end half-century of bloodshed

Left-wing rebels in Colombia have agreed a peace deal to end one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will lay down arms and reintegrate into civilian life under the historic agreement, which brings to an end a war that began in the 1960s and once threatened the country’s existence. The accord, which was finalised after nearly four years of talks in Cuba, sparked celebrations in parks and bars in Colombian capital Bogota. The deal will now be voted on in a referendum on 2 October.

Today I can say - from the bottom of my heart - that I have fulfilled the mandate that you gave me.

President Juan Manuel Santos

The deal was negotiated by president Juan Manuel Santos, who was re-elected in 2014 after promising to end the conflict for good. “Colombians: the decision is in your hands. Never before have our citizens had within their reach the key to their future,” he said in a televised address. Polls suggest Colombians will back the deal, but Mr Santos - who has staked his legacy on peace - will face fierce opposition from powerful sectors of the country who believe the only solution is to finish the FARC militarily.

I can die in peace because finally I’ll see my country without violence with a future for my children

Colombian Orlando Guevara, 57