Colombia's government, rebels sign modified peace agreement

by Alfonso Matthews Noviembre 14, 2016, 7:44

In Colombia, the government and FARC rebels have signed a new, modified peace agreement, following the failure of earlier peace deal due to its rejection by voters in referendum.

Santos acknowledged that a suggestion seeking to bar rebel leaders involved in serious crimes from elections was not part of the re-worked peace deal.

Ivan Marquez, one of the FARC guerrilla movement's chief negotiators tweeted, "The new peace accord is the victory for Colombia", a negotiator for the FARC tweeted.

Even Prime Minister Mark Rutte had appealed for calm ahead of the celebrations, using his weekly press conference Friday to tell people on both sides of the debate to "just be normal".

Colombian president Santos hopes to unite the nation tore by 52-year-long war, all his hopes and aspirations are linked to the new deal.

Simultaneously, the government is trying to advance peace talks with the country's second-biggest rebel group.

He said the United States will "support full implementation of the final peace agreement".

The Interior Ministry said 153 of the organizations had alleged ties to the Gulen network, 190 to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, eight to the Islamic State group and 19 to the banned far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C.

It was unclear if or how the modified deal would be submitted to a referendum.

"Throughout this exercise, Colombians have listened to one another and have reaffirmed their collective desire for peace".

The latest agreement, signed on Saturday in Cuba, aims to address some of the concerns of opponents of the original accord, who said the deal was too lenient on the FARC rebel group, which they allege committed kidnappings and war crimes.

Political analyst Ramiro Bejarano said the continued criticism from those who have opposed the peace process was predictable. It has fewer than 2,000 fighters, making it less than one-third the size of the FARC.

A major change in the new deal De la Calle said, is a requirement for the FARC to present a complete inventory of its assets which will be used for victim compensation. Between then and now, over 220,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

But he added that there would be specifications concerning the "effective restriction of their freedom". Mr. Santos can't run, but wants to ensure that a candidate supportive of the pact takes office, since implementation will run years. He also noted that the president should not presume this is a "definitive" agreement until it can be reviewed thoroughly by Uribe and others who remain skeptical.

"After 52 years of war, no peace agreement can satisfy everyone in every detail", he said.

The details of the new accord were not immediately available and would be published later Saturday evening local time, the newspaper "El Colombiano" reported.

Colombia's government has reached a new agreement with Marxist guerrillas to end the nation's civil conflict, six weeks after voters narrowly rejected a previous deal.

However, it is important to note that none of these three cases required a referendum by law; all three leaders chose to hold one.


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