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Colombia peace deal ends decades of bloodshed

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 01:40

Colombia's government and leftist FARC rebels sign a final peace deal to end a five decades-long civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead. Natasha Howitt reports.

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It's an announcement many have been waiting for for decades... Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos' government and the leftist FARC rebels have signed a peace deal, ending one of the world's longest conflicts. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Colombians, today I speak to you with deep emotion, with great joy. Today is the beginning of the end of suffering, of pain, of the tragedy of war. Today, on August 24 of 2016, we can say that that national hope has become reality. We have reached a final, complete, definitive agreement to end the armed conflict with the FARC." The deal would see fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, laying down their weapons. But it's not completely straightforward - the accord needs to be backed in a referendum before it becomes law. Most opinion polls suggest it will be approved - Santos himself has staked his legacy on it, so will fight hard for that "yes' vote. But his opposition is fierce - powerful sectors of the country think the only solution is to crush the group. The FARC grew out of a 1960s Marxist-inspired peasant movement, and has been fighting successive governments ever since. Over 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict stretching over five decades. Tens of thousands have disappeared, and millions have fled their homes.

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Colombia peace deal ends decades of bloodshed

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 01:40