Colombian president meets rival to discuss FARC deal

Colombian president meets rival to discuss FARC deal
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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Juan Manuel Santos and his opposition rival Alvaro Uribe met on Wednesday in a bid to resolve their differences over a peace deal with Marxist FARC rebels.


The Colombian President and his opposition rival have held talks in a bid to resolve their differences over a peace deal with the country’s Marxist FARC rebels.

The agreement was unexpectedly rejected by popular vote last Sunday, leaving the country in limbo and turmoil.

Colombian Pres. Juan Manuel Santos has met his predecessor Alvaro Uribe who opposed the deal with the FARC rebels

— dwnews (@dwnews) October 6, 2016

Juan Manuel Santos and Alvaro Uribe both say they are willing to bring an end to the 52-year war that has killed more than 220,000 people.

Millions more have been displaced.

Shock rejection – and political disaster

Sunday’s shock referendum result was a political disaster for Santos.

The “No” vote won by less than half a percentage point.

The future of the FARC rebels has been plunged into uncertainty.

They had been expected to disarm if the deal was rubber-stamped by voters.

BREAKING: Colombian public rejects president's peace deal in referendum vote to keep fighting FARC

— The Independent (@Independent) October 2, 2016

Uribe – adjustments and proposals

Current president Santos once served in Uribe’s cabinet, but the two have not met since late 2010.

After more than three hours of talks, the former president emphasized the need for “adjustments and proposals” to ensure the deal encompassed all Colombians.

The 64-year-old described Santos as “disposed to changes”, but gave no concrete details.

Uribe, a former lawyer and cattle rancher, opposed Santos’ peace talks from the start.

He said the final agreement, which was reached in August after four years of painstaking negotiations in Havana, gave too many concessions to the rebels.

Uribe, who led the “no” campaign, urged Colombians not to approve the accord.

It would have given the FARC guaranteed congressional seats as well as immunity from traditional jail sentences.

El expresidente colombiano Álvaro Uribe propone “un gran pacto nacional” tras el 'no' al acuerdo de paz con las FARC

— Antena3Noticias (@A3Noticias) October 3, 2016

The future of the deal

The future of the deal seems to hang on whether the FARC will accept tougher conditions for demobilisation.

The government says the decision to re-open talks lies with the rebel leadership.

Government negotiators are in Havana to confer with guerrilla commanders who have said they will remain “faithful” to the accord.


After the FARC Peace Referendum Failed, What’s Next for Colombia?

— WorldPoliticsReview (@WPReview) October 5, 2016


Thousands of people, many wearing white, took to the streets of cities across Colombia in support of the agreement.

Members of Santos’ cabinet joined marchers in the main square in Bogota.

#Silent protest in #Colombia in favor of #FARC peace deal

— Yeni Şafak English (@yenisafakEN) October 6, 2016

Colombians sing at Times Square. They protest in favor of peace agreement w/ #FARC. #ColombiaDecide#AcuerdoYa#CUNYJReports#CUNYJenespañ

— JeseniaDeMoyaCorrea (@JeseniaDeMoyaC) October 5, 2016

What they are saying

“We identified that many of their worries come from points that need clarification or precisions. Today we began to work with them to firm up those points and resolve their doubts,” – Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement.

“They have made it clear they want the peace process to continue and they want to negotiate a settlement,” – a senior US State Department official says both sides are committed to dialogue.

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