People celebrate the signing of a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Bogota, Colombia, June 23, 2016
John Vizcaino—Reuters
By Simon Lewis
July 19, 2016

Colombia’s constitutional court has approved a motion to hold a popular referendum on a peace agreement that the government hopes soon to sign with Marxist rebels.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been locked in a civil war with the state for more than half a century, but in the past four years the rebels have engaged in talks with government negotiators. Last month, the two sides signed an historic ceasefire agreement in Havana, paving the way for a formal peace treaty.

Agence France-Presse reports that the court, after more than eight hours of deliberations, on Monday gave its approval for the agreement to be put to a plebiscite, after which the rebels would be expected to disarm and morph into a political party (although a small splinter faction has said it will keep fighting).

Read More: How the World’s Longest-Running Civil War Ended

“There is a green light for us, the Colombian people, to approve the peace deal with our votes,” President Juan Manuel Santos said.

[AFP]

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