The leader of Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia apologises to the victims of a 50-year war after signing a historic peace deal. Yiming Woo reports.
Colombian rebel leader’s peace signing apology
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA LEADER, RODRIGO LONDONO ALIAS TIMOCHENKO, SAYING:
“In the name of FARC, I offer a sincere apology to all victims of the conflict… for all the pain we may have caused in this war.”
Timochenko, leader of Colombia’s Marxist rebel group FARC, turns a page on the bloody half-century conflict that killed 250,000 people.
On Monday, he and President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace deal using a pen made from a bullet casing.
Those at the ceremony, including United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, held a minute’s silence for war victims.
Colombians in Bogota started celebrating the historic event even before the accord was signed.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEMONSTRATOR IN FAVOUR OF THE YES VOTE, BIKER MARENTES, SAYING:
“Today is a very important day for us. Today the peace agreement will be signed in Cartagena, that is why we are putting on this concert, in commemoration of such an important day for us Colombians.”
On Sunday, they’ll vote on whether to ratify the agreement, but opinion polls show it should pass easily.
Showing its support for the peace deal, the European Union has removed FARC from its list of terrorist groups.
The U.S. says it will consider following suit and has pledged $390 million for Colombia next year to support the peace process.