The Elders welcome the historic peace agreement signed yesterday between the Government of Colombia and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla movement that brings to an end more than five decades of conflict.

They congratulate all parties to the agreement for their courage and tenacity, in particular President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC-EP leader Timoleón Jiménez, as well as the efforts of international partners who have worked tirelessly to bring this deal to fruition. They also welcome the deployment of United Nations observers to ensure the agreement is fully implemented and respected by all sides.

A sustainable peace requires popular consent which is why the planned referendum in Colombia will be so important. Reservations and objections to certain aspects of the agreement may be legitimate, but The Elders urge all parties to put national interests first and not risk jeopardising peace for short-term political advantage.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said: “The people of Colombia have suffered too long under the shadow of civil war and human rights violations. This deal is proof that even the most protracted of conflicts can be solved peacefully when sufficient political will exists. It carefully reconciles the competing imperatives of peace and transitional justice, and offers a way to reintegrate former combatants into society. As such it offers the whole country a credible path towards peace and stability.”

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