Truce with FARC to continue till October: Colombian President

Bogota, Oct 5 (IANS) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will continue until October 31.

“I hope we can move forward to realise the necessary agreement to find a solution to this conflict,” Santos said on Tuesday.

Negotiators have resumed talks in Cuba to resurrect a peace deal following its rejection in Sunday’s referendum, BBC reported.

However, opponents of the government insist on renegotiating part of the peace deal.

Opponents led by former President Alvaro Uribe said they do not want the rebels to be guaranteed seats in the Congress, or their leaders offered immunity from prison.

Santos is due to meet Uribe and Andres Pastrana, another former President.

All sides in Colombia want an end to more than 50 years of fighting.

The bilateral ceasefire has been in place since August 29 this year.

The peace agreement was reached after four years of formal talks in the Cuban capital, Havana, between the government and FARC negotiators to bring an end to the armed conflict.

From early on in the negotiations, Santos announced he would put the final agreement to the Colombian people in a “yes” or “no” vote.

Polls suggested the agreement would be approved by a comfortable margin, but the deal was rejected by 50.2 per cent of voters.

Both Santos, who won a second term in office in 2014 on a promise of reaching a peace deal, and FARC leader Timochenko have insisted they would not give up.

In a video message from Cuba, Timochenko said, “Peace has come to stay”.

He said the rebels would continue to observe the bilateral ceasefire they signed with the government and abide by what they have agreed to.

“The war-mongering of those who want to sabotage this peace with dignity will never be stronger than the feelings of harmony, inclusion and social justice,” he added.

Earlier, he said the rebels were prepared to “fix” the deal and that the result of Sunday’s vote “does not mean the battle for peace is lost”.

–IANS

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