Colombia and FARC sign amended peace deal

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Peace activists make their way into downtown Bogota after starting a trek from Cali in a bid to call for a swift resolution to stalled peace agreement with FARC in Bogota, Colombia, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino - RTX2QA47

Peace activists make their way into downtown Bogota after starting a trek from Cali in a bid to call for a swift resolution to stalled peace agreement with FARC in Bogota, Colombia, October 24, 2016. Photo by John Vizcaino/Reuters

The government of Colombia and the rebel group known as FARC forged an amended peace deal on Saturday, more than a month after voters narrowly rebuffed an initial accord that would have ended a half-century of war.

The renewed effort between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and government officials took place in Havana, where peace talks have been ongoing between the two sides for four years.

Many Colombians who voted against the initial proposal said it did not go far enough to hold FARC members accountable, while the deal formed this weekend included suggestions from opposition members, religious leaders and others, Reuters reported. Voters rejected the previous referendum held on Oct. 2 by only 55,000 votes, according to the Associated Press.

Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) patrol by a roadway near to San Vicente de Caguan January 9, 1999. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the 52-year conflict. Photo By Reuters

Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) patrol by a roadway near to San Vicente de Caguan January 9, 1999. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the 52-year conflict.
Photo By Reuters

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he hoped the deal formed on Saturday would end the violence that has gripped the country since 1964, killing more than 200,000 people during the conflict and displacing millions more.

“We call upon all Colombia and the international community to back this new accord and its quick implementation so as to leave the tragedy of war in the past,” Santos and FARC leaders said in a statement. “Peace cannot wait anymore.”

While Santos said during a television address that the new accord would be released on Sunday, he noted that it would not be made a part of Colombia’s constitution as had been previously proposed. The amended deal would keep stipulations that would grant FARC members 10 congressional seats during the next decade.

Santos, who has received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end the war, did not disclose whether the country would hold a referendum on the amended agreement, according to Reuters.

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