Colombia was the scene of political fighting for many decades. The South American country has numerous problems that are impeding its development. One of the things standing in the way of Colombia and sustainable development is lasting peace. But it looks like things are changing for the better.
After half a century of fighting, Colombia is taking steady steps on the way to peace. The country looks ready to put political differences in the past and welcome a new era of better understanding. The road to peace is going to be long and difficult, but the South American country is definitely on it.
Colombia Signs Peace Accord
This Monday saw the historic signing of a peace accord in Colombia. The two sides of the agreement are the government and the leftist rebels. The signing took place in a ceremony that had an audience of 2,500. Among them there were foreign dignitaries as invited guests. Present for the signing were the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon and the Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed the agreement for the government. The rebels were represented by Rodrigo Londono. He is the top commander of the rebel group FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The two formally signed the peace accord, making a first step towards peace in Colombia. The accord could mean the ending of half a century of bloodshed.
The next step for Colombia is bridging political difference. Colombians are going to be asked for their opinion regarding the peace accord. A referendum is going to take place this weekend. So, Colombians can choose to ratify or reject the peace accord. Expectations are that the result of the referendum is going to be a positive one and that the deal will pass. If that is the case, Colombia can move on to the next stage of reconciliation.
The First Steps of the Peace Process
The peace accord is 297 pages long and it took four years to negotiate. The two sides of the conflict are inching towards one another. But with decades of fighting behind them there is a lot of mistrust. So the process of reconciliation is going to move slowly. It is going to keep things at a steady pace, making sure that peaceful relations continue.
The first step of the reconciliation is going to take place after this Sunday’s referendum. Opinion polls say that Colombian voters are going to accept the peace accord. So it is likely that after the referendum the peace process is going to go ahead with the first step.
The first part of the peace process entails the disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The FARC rebel group have an estimated 7,000 fighters in Colombia. The first thing they have to do, as part of the peace accord, is turn over their weapons. They are gradually going to do that over a period of six months. The FARC are not going to turn over their weapons to the government. Instead they are going to turn them over to a team of impartial observers backed by the United Nations.
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