- Title: Colombians appear content over revised peace deal
- Date: 13th November 2016
- Summary: GENERAL VIEW OF NEWSPAPERS AND NEWSPAPER VENDOR
- Embargoed: 28th November 2016 15:10
- Keywords: FARC Colombian government Juan Manuel Santos
- Location: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA AND HAVANA, CUBA
- City: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA AND HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00358A2153
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Colombians sounded largely relieved on Sunday (November 13) after Colombia's government and the Marxist FARC rebels said they agreed on a revised peace deal to end a 52-year war, six weeks after the original was narrowly rejected in a referendum amid objections it was too favorable to the rebels.
The government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which have been holding talks in Havana for four years, said they had incorporated proposals from the opposition, religious leaders and others.
President Juan Manuel Santos hopes to unite the divided nation behind the new deal after the peace process was endangered by its rejection in the October plebiscite. Colombian voters were deeply split, with many worried the FARC would not be punished for crimes and others hopeful the deal would cement an end to violence.
Colombians in a peace camp set up in a downtown square sounded content with the new accord, but some still had questions.
"I believe that the agreement has finally been approved. Without a doubt, we accepted the initial one as it was, but of the 57 points the president speaks of, 56 were agreed upon with some interesting modifications. However, there are some worrisome things such as the issue of the judges who are not going to be international because there was a belief that these people who don't have any interest would be able to uncover a little of the paramilitary history in Colombia," said peace camp resident Jose Arturo Gil.
But Colombian Alexander Cardona sounded completely happy.
"Forty-four days after the plebiscite, it is of great happiness and with great enthusiasm that the end is here and there is a final accord," he said.
Copies of the new accord will be made public from Sunday. The government has not addressed holding a second plebiscite to approve the deal, though some opposition figures were already demanding one via Twitter.
The new deal will not modify a controversial part of the accord that gives the FARC 10 congressional seats through 2026 or prevent rebel leaders from eventually being elected to political posts.
However, the accord will not be integrated into Colombia's constitution and the FARC will be required to present a complete inventory of its assets, which are destined for victim compensation, Santos said in a televised address.
The modified accord also takes foreign magistrates off special peace tribunals, although there will be foreign observers, and stipulates the FARC must turn in exhaustive information about its involvement in the drug trade.
The new deal limits the work of the special tribunals to 10 years and requires any investigations be opened within the first two years.
A key concern among those who voted "no" on the initial deal is that convicted rebels will not serve jail time and will instead remove land mines and do other reparations work.
It seemed unlikely modifications would include prison time, but Santos said the deal would ensure FARC fighters sentenced by the special court will be restricted to certain areas, living arrangements and work hours.
An opposition suggestion that FARC leaders not be allowed to run for office once they have finished their alternative sentences was not debated with the rebels, Santos said.
Former President Alvaro Uribe, who led opposition to the original accord, was not pleased with the modified deal, sources said.
Uribe, who met with Santos on Saturday, said his camp and victims should be able to study the new deal before it is implemented.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None