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Colombian Government and FARC Willing to Hear Plans to Change Peace Agreement

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The Colombian government and Marxist FARC rebels have disclosed that they are willing to listen to proposals to alter their peace accords after a negotiated agreement was unexpectedly rejected during a referendum, effectively leaving the country in limbo.

In a joint statement from Havana, Cuba, negotiators from the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) disclosed that after four years of talks, they have the “necessary reforms and measures to achieve peace and guarantee an end to the conflict.” The two sides however noted that they recognized that the accord was rejected in a 2 October referendum, adding that they were willing to listen to proposed adjustments. In the statement, which was ready by lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle, both sides disclosed that “it’s right that we continue listening to different sectors of society in a quick and efficient manner to understand their concerns and promptly find a solution.” The statement however did not provide details of the next steps.

In a vote that confounded opinion polls and was a disaster for President Santos, Colombians narrowly rebuffed the pact as to lenient on the rebels.

In Bogota, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and representatives have been listening to the views of those who voted against the deal, led by former President Alvaro Uribe. Those will be presented by government negotiations at some point to the FARC for discussion. Uribe opposed the peace talks from the beginning, later stating that the deal gave too many concessions to the rebels. He spearheaded the “no” campaign, urging Colombians to reject the accord, which would have given the FARC guaranteed congressional seats and immunity from traditional jail sentences. His side won by half a percentage point.

The statement from the two sides comes just hours after President Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 52-year-old war with the FAR. The Norwegian Nobel Committee disclosed that the Colombian leader had brought one of the longest civil wars in modern history closer to a peaceful solution, noting however that the process could still collapse given the results of the referendum.

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