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New FARC peace deal signed in Colombia before congressional approval

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By Robert Hackwill
New FARC peace deal signed in Colombia before congressional approval

Minutes after 2016 Nobel Peace prize winner and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño signed what they hope will be a revised definitive peace agreement, Timoleón Jiménez, his nom de guerre during his 40 years as part of the FARC, spoke exclusively with euronews. What next for the man who led the world’s oldest Marxist insurrection?

“What gives us confidence is the fact that we have received the support of the international community, in particular the support of the US, Latin America, and the European community,” he said.

The deal has been opposed by former president Alvaro Uribe and the Catholic and the growing Colombian Evangelical church, angered by the FARC’s insistence on minority and sexual rights. Some former victims have however welcomed it.

“Mr. Timoleón formally offers forgiveness to all the victims and he pledges that talks and not weapons should prevail for all Colombians, and nobody should die anymore for their political convictions. I believe that it’s really a compromise,” said Clara Rojas, six years a FARC prisoner and now a member of parliament.

Congress will vote on the revised deal, which has angered Uribe, the leader of the opposition, who wants it put to a popular vote again. He also wants them excluded from politics.

“Think about it. If this is what they do with the FARC, what will the country do then with its dissidents, what will it do with the ELN, what will it do with 3500 criminal groups, with 150-170,000 hectares of drug trafficking?” he said.

In the meantime, massacres and murders of farmers and civil leaders have increased in recent months.

“This new text of the agreement will be approved in Congress, and after that a period of implementation will begin, which will be full of challenges. At the same time, a period of 180 days starts, during which the FARC will lay down their arms progressively under the UN’s supervision,” reports euronews’ Natalia Orozco.