- Title: Colombian opposition speak out against re-drafted FARC peace deal
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (FILE - OCTOBER 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF COLOMBIANS VOTING ON PEACE DEAL
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 02:33
- Keywords: peace deal FARC Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos rebels opposition Senator Alvaro Uribe
- Location: BOGOTA, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
- City: BOGOTA, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00559NYNUV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Members of Colombia's opposition spoke out on Tuesday (November 22) on a revised peace accord between the government and Marxist FARC rebels, criticising the new deal for impunity towards guerrilla members guilty of crimes.
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.
Former president and now opposition Senator Alvaro Uribe said improvements have been made in the deal but there is still a way to go.
"Although the President of the Republic calls us radicals, we have accepted that in other areas there were modifications which we have thought convenient and we have said that there is a third category of issues that could be adjusted here in Congress. The serious thing is that the government does not give in to impunity, drug trafficking," he said.
Uribe has criticised it 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.
Fellow opposition member Marta Lucia Ramirez also echoed Uribe's comments.
"The second agreement has improvements which are absolutely indisputable, but there are still fundamental issues that concern us which is why there were many Colombians, more than six million and a half who voted no. For example, the FARC are going to put forward candidates to the presidency and the Congress within a year, without having paid for the crimes they have committed," she added.
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.
The expanded and highly technical 310-page document appears to make only small modifications to the original text, such as clarifying private property rights and detailing more fully how the rebels would be confined in rural areas for crimes committed during the war.
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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