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Colombia government, FARC rebels sign ceasefire

The Colombian government and the leftist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels on 23 June 2016 signed a historic ceasefire deal. This ceasefire deal helped in ending more than five decades of conflict, which is regarded as one of the oldest wars of history.
•    The signing ceremony held at Havana was witnessed by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, FARC chief Timoleón Timochenko Jiménez, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, Cuban president, Raúl Castro and Venezuela’s head of state, Nicolás Maduro.
•    The announcement is seen as one of the last steps before a full peace deal is signed, which is expected within weeks via a referendum. The formal peace talks for the deal were started three years ago, in October 2012, in the Cuban capital.
•    The peace talks between the government and the rebels were hosted by the Cuban president, Raúl Castro; while Venezuela that had the observer status played an important role in encouraging FARC to the negotiating table.
•    The core area of discussion focused on five main areas that island reform, the rebels' future role in political life, a definitive end of hostilities, fighting the illegal drug trade and the situation of the victims.
•    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (FARC-EP) is a left wing militant organization established in 1964.
•    It is Colombia's largest rebel group and Latin America's oldest left-wing insurgency. It is active in Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador.
•    Like any left-wing militant organisation, its aim is to overthrow the government in power.
•    It was established as a communist-inspired peasant army fighting for land reform and to reduce the gulf dividing rich and poor in the Andean country.
•    It resulted in killing of an estimated 2.2 lakh people and displaced almost seven million.