colombia peace deal advances
File photo: Colombia's lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle and Colombia's FARC lead negotiator Ivan Marquez (R) shake hands in Havana July 12, 2015. On Wednesday Sept. 23rd 2015, representatives of both sides announce a major breakthrough in the peace talks. A final deal may be in sight. REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa

Two sides of the half-century-long Colombian civil war have reached a major breakthrough in ongoing peace talks, the BBC reports . Negotiators in Havana had already reached agreements on major issues such as drug enforcement, political participation and land reform. On Wednesday, representatives of Colombia and the FARC announced that they had reached an agreement on a final stumbling block, possible prosecution of soldiers for war crimes .

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wasn’t signing kumbaya, but he did tweet a bit of encouragement to his countrymen on Wednesday, saying that “Peace is close.”

FARC representatives said that “peace arrived,” in Havana, along with their top commander Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko.

Under freshly inked war crimes agreement, hypothetical future convicts could serve up to eight years for actions perpetrated during the country’s civil war, according to Rose Lander of Colombia Reports .

The compromise ends talk of amnesty for soldiers in the conflict, who are accused of committing atrocities on both sides.

“Not everyone will be content but I am sure that long term things will be better,” Santos said in a joint press conference with Timochenko. “No one can be completely happy, but the change will be very positive.”

There many hurdles left to a final peace accord, and plenty of internal opposition left to overcome, but the agreement reached on Wednesday is the biggest step yet taken toward ending Latin America’s longest-running civil war.

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