COLOMBIA

Colombia announces revised peace deal with Farc, hoping to overcome referendum rejection

Rebels won’t get guaranteed seats in Congress and will compensate victims of the conflict using their own assets

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 10:06pm

Colombia’s government has reached a new agreement with Marxist guerrillas to end the nation’s civil conflict, six weeks after voters unexpectedly rejected a previous deal.

Under the terms of the mod­ified accord, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, won’t get guaranteed seats in Congress, and will compensate victims of the conflict using their own assets, President Juan ­Manuel Santos said in a national address. Santos didn’t say ­whether the deal will be put to a second vote.

We hope this work satisfies those from the ‘no’ campaign and the nation
Colombian President Juan ­Manuel Santos

The deal aims to address some of the objections of opponents of the original agreement. The ­government has held weeks of talks with leaders of the “no” ­campaign, including former president Alvaro Uribe, who attacked the agreement as too lenient on a group that kidnapped and murdered Colombians.

“We hope this work satisfies those from the ‘no’ campaign and the nation,” Santos said. “We hope peace allows us to unite as a nation, and seize with both hands the opportunities that tranquillity, security and unity bring.”

The agreement clarifies the conditions under which Farc leaders would be deprived of their liberty, the government’s chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle said in Havana, where the peace talks took place. The pact also makes clear its respect for the right to private property, and will be fiscally sustainable, he said.

Senator Armando Benedetti, a member of Santos’s ‘U’ Party, said in posts on Twitter that under the agreement, Farc leaders will be confined to areas no bigger than a hamlet, monitored by the UN. Uribe had said the original texts gave leaders effective impunity.

Uribe met with Santos on ­Saturday and afterwards told ­reporters in an air base in western Colombia that he asked that the new agreement “not be definitive”, adding that he and other ­opposition leaders want to review the text, which is still not public. Uribe has called for tougher ­penalties for Farc leaders guilty of ser­ious crimes.

One senior Senator appeared to suggest that lawmakers will ­implement the pact.

Historic peace deal between Colombian government and FARC rebels ends half-century civil war

“Congress is ready,” said Mauricio Lizcano, head of Congress and part of the government’s ­ruling coalition. “We are ready to implement and approve these agreements.”

Voters’ rejection of the original deal by 50.2 per cent to 49.8 per cent left the Farc in limbo. This cast a shadow over the Andean nation, generating uncertainty over whether there would be a return to all-out war. Despite this, the bilateral ceasefire in the original agreement has held.