Nobel Peace Prize 2016 goes to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos - Firstpost
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Nobel Peace Prize 2016 goes to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize 2016 on Friday.

The field of contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize was thrown wide open after the Colombian people's shock rejection of a historic peace deal after nearly four years of talks, put its negotiators out of the running.

Up until that point Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC chief Rodrigo London, alias Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez, had been tipped as favourites to win the prestigious award after signing a deal on September 26 to end 52 years of civil war.

Despite this Efforts by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to end five decades of war in his country were recognised with the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

In a televised address a day after voters rejected the agreement in a referendum, Santos said he had asked the government's chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle to "begin discussions as soon as possible addressing all the necessary issues to have an agreement and realize the dream of every Colombian to end the war with the FARC."

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the award should also be seen "as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.

It did not cite his counterpart in peace negotiations, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end," said committee chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five.

A file photo of Juan Manuel Santos. AP

A file photo of Juan Manuel Santos. AP

"There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono, continue to respect the ceasefire," she said.

"The fact that a majority of the voters said 'no' to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead. The referendum was not a vote for or against peace. What the "No" side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement," Five said.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasises the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process."

Santos takes home the eight million Swedish kronor (around $924,000 or 831,000 euros) prize sum.

Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel created the prizes in his 1895 testament, stipulating that his fortune was to be placed in a fund destined to honour "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".

The peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses," his will said.

The peace prize is the only one of the six awards announced in Norway. Nobel wanted to include Norway in his initiative, since Norway and Sweden were joined in a union at the time.

With inputs from agencies

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