Colombia government ready for revised deal with FARC

November 23, 2016 7:36 am

A Colombian protester holds the national flag and a white flag symbolizing peace during a march for peace in Bogota, on November 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says a new version of a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of , known as , will be handed to the parliament for endorsement.
Santos added that his government and FARC rebels have agreed to sign a new peace deal in Bogota on Thursday and send it to congress where the government has the majority.
The Nobel peace prize winning president said the decision was made upon a request by FARC leadership. 
Speaking on the national television on Tuesday, President Santos told his people, “We have the unique opportunity to close this painful chapter in our history that has bereaved and afflicted millions of Colombians for half a century.”
In the new modified version, more than 50 changes were made to the original agreement that was rejected by voters in a referendum last month on the grounds that it was too lenient on the FARC rebels who had committed years of atrocities and bloodshed.
The revised text includes the original deal’s major doctrines, such as the FARC disarming and becoming a political party. 
The new deal, however, leaves two issues that have received the most complaints unchanged; namely, the absence of jail terms for rebel leaders and a ban on them holding public office. 
Meanwhile during a long meeting in Bogota on Monday, government negotiators failed to persuade opposition leader Alvaro Uribe and other dissidents to support the accord. 
The opposition refused to support the modified peace deal with the FARC, saying it fell short of adequately punishing the rebels who had committed violence throughout the years. 
On October 22, negotiators from the FARC and the government started a new round of talks in Havana, Cuba to find ways to save the peace agreement signed in September.
The conflict between the warring sides has claimed more than 260,000 lives and displaced nearly seven million people over the past 52 years.
Yet, many argue that ending the long-running war with the FARC will unlikely end violence in Colombia where a money-spinning cocaine business has emboldened and increased the number of dangerous criminal gangs and traffickers.
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