Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed in the New Year by outlining his hopes for a peace accord to finally be signed in Havana.
The deal will mark the end of over 50 years of internal armed conflict in the country, between Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The government and the insurgent group have been in talks since 2012. A recent breakthrough will ensure that victims of the country’s conflict are also compensated.
Santos recognized that 2015 had been a “difficult year” for the country.
“This year Colombia could witness a new dawn, a dawn in a country without war and conflict, so that the community can progress in all aspects.” the mandate commented, daily El Espectador reported.
Colombia has also unveiled plans to discuss the country’s minimum wage – increasing it to around 689 pesos per month ($217) – a seven percent increase from the previous year.
“We will continue to make 2016 even better, ensuring that people obtain a dignified job, so that young people have access to education and so that the poorest members of society have their own house, where they are guaranteed access to public services.” He added.
Santos hopes to ink a peace deal during March 2016, putting an end to around four years of discussions.
The mandate is also set to begin talks with fellow guerrilla group the ELN – placed on hold over claims that neighboring President Nicolás Maduro had put a stop to the process.