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  • The peace accord will be signed next Monday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri.

    The peace accord will be signed next Monday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 September 2016
Opinion

"The guerrillas ... have given their unanimous backing to the final accord," said the FARC's Ivan Marquez.

The FARC rebel group announced Friday that close to 200 delegates representing all the guerrilla units in the country have unanimously ratified the peace accord signed with the government last Aug. 24.

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"The war is over," said Ivan Marquez at a national conference of the FARC to vote on the deal and relaunch the group as a political party.

"The guerrillas ... have given their unanimous backing to the final accord," he said, on the sixth and last day of what now promises to be the FARC's final meeting as a rebel army.

Marquez, who led the FARC delegation at nearly four years of peace talks in Cuba, added a reference to one of Colombia's most famous sons, the Nobel prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"Tell Mauricio Babilonia he can release the yellow butterflies," he said, an allusion to a character in the master of magical realism's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" who is so love-struck that a cloud of yellow butterflies follows him wherever he goes.

"We inform you that the guerrilla delegates have given unanimous support to the peace accord," FARC senior official Ivan Marquez told reporters following the conclusion of a rebel assembly in the village of El Diamante.

The 10th FARC National Conference ends Friday after seven days of deliberations at El Diamante, a remote location on the llanos between the provinces of Meta and Caqueta.

At the same time, they ratified the decision to lay down their arms and become a legal political party.

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Colombia Peace Deal

They also decided to enlarge their national board to 61 members and convoked a future meeting in order to discuss the political tasks in the case Colombians approve the deal in the referendum.

"The guerrilla conference announces that the conversion process into a political party has opened its doors," added Marquez. 

"We're going to come out into the world of open politics. The main challenge will be achieving a political platform that brings together the diverse segments of Colombian society," FARC commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told AFP.

Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, better known as Timonchenko, is expected to keep his role as leader of whatever organization emerges to replace the FARC, which today has an estimated 7,500 fighters.

The peace accord will be signed next Monday in Cartagena by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri.

The text of the pact will later be submitted to a popular vote in a referendum to be held next Oct. 2.

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