- Title: Peace talks between Colombia’s Santos and opposition leaders to continue
- Date: 5th October 2016
- Summary: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (OCTOBER 5, 2016) (REUTERS) SANTOS ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, SAYING: "We listened for four hours with great attention to their concerns, all of them, and other possible concerns not yet heard will be analysed in an agreed commission. This hearing will begin tomorrow."
- Embargoed: 20th October 2016 23:38
- Keywords: Matthew FARC peace
- Location: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
- City: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00252QCEVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Further talks are to continue between Colombia's president and opposition leaders in a bid to salvage a peace agreement with Marxist rebels which was rejected by voters at the weekend, the president said on Wednesday (October 5).
President Juan Manuel Santos announced the continuing talks after a meeting with opposition leader, former president and current senator, Alvaro Uribe, on Wednesday - the first meeting between the two politicians in five years.
"We listened for four hours with great attention to their concerns, all of them, and other possible concerns not yet heard will be analysed in an agreed commission. This hearing will begin tomorrow," Santos told reporters at the Casa del Narino presidential palace.
Colombians narrowly rebuffed the pact on Sunday as too lenient on the rebels in a vote that confounded opinion polls.
President Santos has struck a diplomatic tone in bringing together the opposing political sides to find common ground for peace.
Santos late on Tuesday decreed that a government ceasefire put in place in August would be extended until the end of the month in a bid to allow time to salvage the deal. The original ceasefire was nullified when the peace accord was rejected in the plebiscite. He did not say if the ceasefire would be extended further.
"Colombians, we are very close, very close to achieving peace, a stable and lasting peace, with wider support from the nation, if everyone has the will and contributes with responsibility, understanding of reality and rapidity, we will achieve it. And I want to insist on the issue of rapidity. The administration of the cease fire, in the current conditions of uncertainty, brings a lot of risk," he said.
Uribe has been vocal in his criticism of provisions in the peace deal that would have included guaranteed congressional seats for the FARC and immunity from traditional jail sentences for leaders.
He said that a corrected peace agreement should contain guarantees for FARC rebel fighters, but strict penalties for commanders responsible for war crimes.
"We have expressed initial adjustments and proposals which should be introduced into the texts of Havana, to come to a new peace agreement which brings together all Colombians. The president expressed his will to achieve this," Uribe told reporters outside the presidential palace.
"We reiterate the necessity that the FARC accept their crimes and that their members receive protection. We have expressed to the government legal and economic solutions linked to the elimination of drug trafficking, which must be immediate for FARC rebels who are not involved in crimes against humanity," Uribe added.
After years of refusing to meet negotiators, Uribe has now said he is willing to seek a joint solution. A re-negotiation seems to depend on whether the FARC would accept tougher conditions, maybe combined with a softening of Uribe's demands.
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