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Colombia’s government and Marxist guerillas said on Saturday they agreed on a revised peace deal to end a 52-year war, six weeks after the original was narrowly rejected in a referendum amid objections it was too favorable to the rebels. The government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who have been holding talks in Havana for four years, said in a joint statement they had incorporated proposals from various groups in the new deal.
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“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,” the statement read. “Peace cannot wait anymore.” However, former President Alvaro Uribe, who led opposition to the original accord, said his camp and victims of the conflict, which has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions, should be able briefly to study the new deal before it is implemented.
“I have asked the president that the texts they announce in Havana not be definitive,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account, adding that the opposition might want to make further tweaks. Details of the new deal were to be made public later on Saturday. Colombia’s lead government negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, said one main change is a requirement the FARC present a complete inventory of its assets, which are destined for victim compensation.
The new accord also takes foreign magistrates off special peace tribunals, although there will be foreign observers, and stipulates the FARC must turn in “exhaustive and detailed” information about its involvement in the drugs trade, de la Calle said. No details were released on whether the deal addresses the main concerns of the Uribe-led opposition, namely guaranteed congressional seats for the FARC and immunity from traditional jail sentences for leaders.
“This accord is better insofar as it resolves many criticisms and dissatisfactions,” de la Calle said. “Like the first one, it will not have unanimous acceptance, but we hope that it will have more solid support.” President Juan Manuel Santos, who last month won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the war, has staked his legacy on a deal and spent the last few weeks scrambling to salvage it.
It was unclear if he will put the new accord up for another popular vote. He was to speak later on Saturday. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement: “We commend… Santos for forming an inclusive national dialogue to incorporate into this revised agreement concerns of those who voted against the initially proposed peace agreement.”