Colombia seeks to find common ground on FARC peace deal

BOGOTA, Oct. 4 (UPI) — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday his administration will meet with key opponents of his rejected FARC peace deal in order to find an agreement the Colombian people would likely accept.

The leader of the “No” campaign, former President Alvaro Uribe, has assigned three politicians to lead his efforts to find common ground between his camp, the government and the FARC rebels over the deal.

The “No” to the rejected peace deal campaign thought the terms were too lenient in favor of the FARC. “No” wants FARC rebels found guilty of crimes to be banned from running for public office, FARC leaders to serve time in prison for crimes committed and that the FARC use their illegally acquired funds to pay for compensation for victims.

Santos said he has appointed three top officials — lead negotiator to the FARC Humberto de la Calle,
Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas — to “sit down for talks and guide this peace process to a happy ending” through dialogue with FARC negotiators and with the “No” campaign.

If negotiations for a peace deal are reopened, the “No” camp would likely be present alongside the FARC and Santos’ government.

“We will continue putting all our efforts to pass on to future generations a country like we all deserve: a country in peace,” Santos said in a statement on Monday.

More than 220,000 people have died and 5 million have been internally displaced due to the Colombian conflict since the FARC’s founding in 1964. The militant rebel group, known officially as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been involved in drug-trafficking, kidnapping and other illicit activity to fund its insurgency campaign.

FARC leadership have vowed to maintain a cease-fire with the Colombian government.

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