- Title: Colombia, FARC rebels to sign new peace deal on Thursday- Santos
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (FILE) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** GENERAL OF THE CONGRESS BUILDING VARIOUS OF LAWMAKERS DURING A FLOOR VOTE
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 01:02
- Keywords: Colombia FARC peace rebels Juan Manuel Santos Rodrigo Londono
- Location: BOGOTA, CARTAGENA, UKNOWN MOUNTAINOUS REGION, COLOMBIA AND HAVANA, CUBA
- City: BOGOTA, CARTAGENA, UKNOWN MOUNTAINOUS REGION, COLOMBIA AND HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Insurgencies
- Reuters ID: LVA00259NXKCN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
A new peace accord between Colombia's government and Marxist FARC rebels will be signed on Thursday (November 24) and sent to Congress for approval, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Tuesday (November 22), bringing a formal end to the 52-year civil war ever closer.
The revised document will be signed in Bogota between FARC leader Rodrigo Londono and Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to end the conflict with the insurgent group.
"On Thursday, the day after tomorrow, we're going to sign this new agreement here in Bogota, at the Teatro Colon. Once the agreement is signed, it will still need to be endorsed and implemented. As far as the implementation, this should and needs to be done by Congress. That is where all the country's laws should be debated and passed," the president said in a televised address.
The government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been in talks in Havana, Cuba for the last four years, hammering out a deal to end a conflict that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions in the Andean country.
The government published the revised peace deal last week in a bid to build support after the original draft was rejected in an October 2 referendum amid objections it was too favourable to the rebels.
The decision to ratify the revised accord in Congress instead of holding another referendum will anger members of the opposition, particularly former President Alvaro Uribe who spearheaded the push to reject the original accord and wants deeper changes to the new version.
Santos, 65, warned another plebiscite could divide the nation and put in danger the bilaterial cease-fire.
"After hearing all the proposals and alternatives, and in common agreement with the FARC, it is clear that the best and most legitimate way to endorse this new agreement is through Congress where all the political visions and options are represented from the extreme left to the extreme right. That is the direction I will continue down."
Uribe has criticised the new deal as just a slightly altered version of the original and wants rebel leaders to be banned from holding public office and for them to be jailed for crimes.
The FARC, which began as a rebellion fighting rural poverty, has battled a dozen governments as well as right-wing paramilitary groups.
An end to the war with the FARC is unlikely to end violence in Colombia as the lucrative cocaine business has given rise to dangerous criminal gangs and traffickers.
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