Obama cheers as hemisphere’s longest war comes to end

Obama cheers as hemisphere’s longest war comes to end

President Obama on Thursday hailed the “historic day” marked by the finalization of a peace deal between the government of Colombia and Marxist rebels, bringing to an end the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere.

“We have witnessed, once again, that a sustained commitment to diplomacy and reconciliation can overcome even the most entrenched conflicts,” the president said in a statement after the agreement was announced between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym as FARC.

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“For generations, too many Colombians have known only a country ravaged by war,” Obama said. “Thanks to the strength and spirit of the Colombian people, today's Colombia is moving toward a future of optimism and hope.”

The agreement announced on Wednesday brought to an end more than 50 years of bloodshed that left more than 220,000 people dead.

The peace deal must be ratified in an Oct. 2 popular vote before it will take effect.

“The United States strongly supports this accord that can achieve a just and lasting peace for all Colombians,” Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryNew Hampshire primary turnout is a boost to Democrats New Hampshire only exacerbates Democratic Party agita If Trump renegotiates Iran's nuclear deal, should it be a treaty this time? MORE said in a statement.

A cease-fire between the two sides went into effect in late June.

In his statement, Obama thanked Cuba, which for nearly four years hosted talks leading to the announcement of peace.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visited Washington earlier this year, when he and Obama both hailed prospects for peace between the government and FARC rebels.

“Just as the United States has been Colombia's partner in a time of war, we will be Colombia's partner in waging peace,” Obama said on Thursday.