Colombia rejects peace deal with Farc rebels, President Santos says ceasefire ends on 31 October - Firstpost
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Colombia rejects peace deal with Farc rebels, President Santos says ceasefire ends on 31 October


After years of war and uncertainty, Colombia is possibly moving towards a neutral ground with its biggest rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). However, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Tuesday that a ceasefire with Farc rebels will end on 31 October.

Rebels will abandon their jungle camps and move to the neutral ground to lay down their arms, according to a New York Times piece. Both the sides are still struggling to find a solution to this years-long conflict after the Colombian voters rejected a peace accord.

The rejection of a peace deal has thrown both the sides in quandary. The chief of Farc Rodrigo Londono took to Twitter to ask "And after that, the war continues?"

Negotiators are trying to resurrect a peace deal after its rejection by voters in Sunday’s referendum, reported BBC. "I hope we can move forward to realise the necessary agreement to find a solution to this conflict," Santos was quoted as saying.

Since the ceasefire is due to end on 31 October, he added, "We are in a kind of limbo that is dangerous and risky that could throw back this whole process of peace and negotiation with the rebels."

Colombian President after voting in the referendum. AP

Colombian President after voting in the referendum. AP

The report stated that the peace agreement has been reached after four years of formal talks between the government and Farc members in the Cuban capital of Havana.

To realise the peace deal, Santos met his former boss and current nemesis Alvaro Uribe at the presidential palace at 11:30 am on Wednesday.

Uribe had termed the deal as too lenient for the rebels and thrown the four years of negotiations in disarray. He said that they do not want the rebels to be guaranteed seats in Congress, or their leaders offered immunity from prison, BBC report said.

Some members of Uribe’s party have also said that Farc commanders who have committed atrocities should go to jail, a report by The Wall Street Journal said.

“If the worst offenders don’t pay a single day in jail, this just wouldn’t be a sustainable deal,” AFP quoted former minister and vice-presidential candidate Carlos Holmes as saying.

Santos came to power on the promise of achieving a peace accord but the referendum result has proved to be an impediment in his path.

He must find a compromise solution acceptable to both the hardliners in Uribe's camp and the Farc.

The ceasefire has been in place since 29 August, five days after the two sides clinched a peace deal following five years of arduous negotiations

The government's chief peace negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, has returned to Havana to see whether the Farc is open to revising the deal.

Santos has named Holguin, de la Calle and Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas to hold talks with the opposition on salvaging the deal.

Holguin admitted the government was left scrambling by the surprise referendum result, which flew in the face of opinion polls.

"There was no Plan B. We believed the country wanted peace," she said.

Both the sides have refused to give up and are committed to trying harder to reach a possible solution. No one wants the war to resume.

With inputs from AFP.

First Published On : Oct 5, 2016 15:40 IST

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