- Title: Colombia's FARC leaders head to Bogota for peace signing
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (FILE - 2016) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF CONGRESS BUILDING VARIOUS OF CONGRESSMEN DURING VOTING SESSION
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 03:03
- Keywords: Colombia FARC Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia peace agreement
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA AND BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA AND BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00259IYFCZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The leadership of Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group travelled to Bogota on Monday (November 21) for meetings ahead of the signing of a new peace agreement with the government to end a half century of war, the insurgent group said.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has 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.
The latest accord aims to satisfy objections made by millions of Colombians who voted down the original deal in a referendum last month. It is still not clear how the new accord will be approved, but it seems likely it will be ratified in Congress rather than via another plebiscite.
Before travelling, the FARC's highest commander, Rodrigo Londono alias Timochenko, spoke in support of ratifying the deal from Havana.
"We need to ratify this agreement to begin to sow the bases and sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace in our country," said Timochenko.
President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday (November 19) that he will allow the new accord to be debated in Congress before it is approved and passed into law.
Timochenko said time was of the essence.
"It is (the mechanism) closest to our reach; the fastest and the most efficient (way). I think that the more time that goes without a ratification of the agreement, the more space there is for the sectors who do not want peace, the sectors that want war to continue," said Timochenko.
Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to end the war, is expected to sign the new document with Londono, but the timing has not yet been announced.
Speaking at a university event in the capital on Monday, Santos called for all political sectors to come together to support the agreement.
"Doctor Humberto de la Calle and the minister of the interior have met with ex-president (Alvaro) Uribe and the spokespersons of the Democratic Centre, where we are proposing that we should come together for the implementation of the agreement, that we should construct a common cause," said Santos.
It is not known where the rebel commanders will stay while they are in the capital, but security will be extremely tight.
The government last week published the revised deal, which addresses some of the objections to the original text, but leaves unchanged two of the thorniest complaints.
The 310-page document clarified private property rights and detailed more fully how the rebels would be confined in rural areas for crimes committed during the war.
But it did not include jail terms for rebel leaders or a ban on them holding public office.
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