Havana: The Colombian government and the FARC rebel force signed a definitive ceasefire and disarmament agreement Thursday, one of the last steps on the path to ending their half-century conflict.
President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez signed the deal and shook hands smiling at a ceremony in Cuba alongside international leaders.
The deal establishes "a bilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities and the definitive laying down of arms," according to the text read out by Cuban mediator Rodolfo Benitez.
The ceasefire will come into effect after the signing of a broader peace agreement expected within weeks.
Under the agreement, the FARC must hand over its weapons to United Nations monitors within six months.
The FARC`s members will gather in security zones for a demobilization process.
The agreement promises security guarantees for demobilized FARC members. The group was last estimated to have some 7,000 fighters.
The sides also agreed to government action against "criminal organizations" blamed for fueling the conflict in the major cocaine-producing country.