Government, FARC sign new peace deal in Colombia

Santos takes inked deal to Congress for debate

Government, FARC sign new peace deal in Colombia

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño on Thursday signed a reworked peace agreement here in another effort to end the 52-year conflict.

The somber singing ceremony at the Colón Theater in the city’s historic Candelaria district was starkly different from the fanfare present when the first deal was signed in Cartagena in September.

“We all know that the cost of the conflict is too high and too painful,” Santos during the ceremony. “Peace is a common dream which we have searched years for. The armed conflict has left us with a painful chapter.”

The new agreement contains approximately 190 alterations to the original deal that was altered to accommodate concerns voiced by those in the opposition “No” camp that last month narrowly defeated a referendum vote on the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“We have enriched and modified the last accord, taking into account the proposals made by the different sectors,” Londoño, alias Timochenko, said after signing the new agreement. “Words should be the only weapons used by Colombians.”

With time of the essence, Santos left the event to take the signed agreement to Congress to allow lawmakers to begin a debate on the accord and put it to a vote as soon as next week.

Once the agreement is approved by Congress, FARC guerrillas would be able to start moving to pre-defined concentration zones where they will begin disarmament and reintegration into society as a legal political movement.

Additionally, Santos is keen to have everything sown up by early 2017 before all political parties begin campaigning for the presidential elections in 2018.

“The time left to implement the accords is short,” Sergio Jaramillo, high commission for peace and member of the government’s negotiating team told the El Tiempo newspaper Thursday. “We only have the possibility to implement everything via Congress in the first semester of 2017. After this, everyone will begin campaigning,” he added.

Negotiations to end the longest conflict in the Western hemisphere began in Havana in November 2012. After four years of talks, a deal was reached in August.

Last Mod: 25 Kasım 2016, 01:06
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