Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Colombian Leaders Try To Revive Peace Deal After Referendum Rejection

Colombian officials met Tuesday in Cuba with representatives from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for talks to try and save a peace deal, but it is unclear how willing the rebels are to return to the negotiating table.

In addition to the resumed negotiations with the rebels, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will meet with former president Alvaro Uribe, who led the opposition to the peace deal with FARC. Uribe told a Colombian radio station he was willing to provide input on a way forward to peace with FARC and an end to the country's 52-year-old war.

Voters narrowly rejected the deal 50.2 percent to 49.7, or by a margin of just 54,000 votes. Public opinion polls going into Sunday's voting forecast the referendum would pass by a two-to-one margin.

President Santos said he would extend a cease-fire agreement reached with the rebels to October 31, in an effort to facilitate the negotiations.

"Time is very important. We can't prolong this process and this dialogue for a long time because we're in a gray zone, a sort of limbo, that is risky and can wash away the entire process," he said.

The leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Rodrigo Londono, who is also known as Timochenko, responded to Santos's offer offer to extend the cease-fire with skepticism.

"And after that the war continues?" the rebel leader said on Twitter.

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