- Title: Colombia's Santos says new peace agreement will unite Colombia
- Date: 29th October 2016
- Summary: CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA (OCTOBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS AERIALS OF CARTAGENA
- Embargoed: 13th November 2016 03:17
- Keywords: IberoAmerican Summit King Felipe Juan Manuel Santos summit
- Location: CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
- City: CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00155X732F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Leaders from Latin America and the Iberian peninsula expressed their support on Friday (October 28) for the Colombian peace process at a business meeting ahead of the 25th Iberoamerican Conference in Colombia's Caribbean town of Cartagena.
Colombia's government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are incorporating new suggestions into the peace deal that was rejected in a plebiscite earlier this month in a bid to swiftly salvage the accord, both sides said on Friday.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his hope that the adjustments to the peace agreement would ensure a greater level of public acceptance when completed.
"If we achieve this new agreement, we are going to see which is the path forward which creates the least divisions. Even the opposition has said they do not want another plebiscite as it could create further divisions. So I would achieve a way forward which creates the least divisions, and may the agreement be more legitimate, broad and profound," said Santos.
The government and rebels are back at the negotiating table in Havana where they have been holding talks for four years on ending a 52-year old conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people.
On Friday, the FARC and government delegations said they would pick up talks next Thursday November 3, "with the aim of reaching quickly and efficiently a new definitive agreement."
King Felipe VI of Spain also expressed his support for the process.
"I would like to make this most of this occasion to reiterate my wish that you soon achieve the peace that the Colombian people with you, Sir, leading them, have worked so hard for. You can always count on Spain's support, and I would like to congratulate you for the Nobel prize that you were awarded. It is evident that the context of security and peace for which the nation is working for with such great effort and determination, will favour in very important ways the necessary social and political conditions in order to achieve economic progress to benefit all Colombians," said King Felipe.
Also high on the agenda of the summit is the situation in Venezuela, where hundreds of thousands of people marched against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government on Wednesday, and where the opposition is carrying out a political trial of Maduro in the National Assembly for having effectively blocked a recall referendum to oust the unpopular socialist leader.
Business leaders called for Maduro to hold a frank and constructive conversation with the private sector.
"Finally, we have decided to manifest our profound worry regarding the situation in Venezuela which puts at a great risk all business initiative, private property and the right to work, as well as the juridical conditions for investment, competition, productivity and social well being," business leaders reported after meetings.
Among leaders to arrive on Friday evening were Chilean President Michele Bachelet, Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who made a call to support the peace process which his country expects to host between Colombia and the ELN armed group.
"There is still a long way to go, we must not lose our enthusiasm. The will to achieve peace is greater than any obstacle," said Correa.
The summit, entitled Youth, Education and Entrepreneurship, has brought together 22 countries which make up the Iberoamerican community.
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