HAVANA – The Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group have reached a new peace deal that includes contributions from sectors opposed to the original treaty that was signed last September and was later rejected by Colombians in a referendum on Oct. 2.
“Attending to the outcry of Colombians desiring peace and reconciliation, we have reached a new final accord,” said the statement by the two sides that was read in Havana, the seat of peace talks for the last four years.
The new document was signed by the chief negotiator for the government, Humberto de la Calle, and for the FARC, Ivan Marquez, alias “Luciano Arango,” who have headed nine days of intensive meetings in the Cuban capital to reach a new agreement in order to “obtain a stable, lasting peace.”
The latest deal includes “changes, detailed explanations and contributions from the most diverse sectors of society, which were reviewed one by one,” said the statement read by the ambassadors of the accord’s guarantor nations, Cuba and Norway.
“Building a stable, lasting peace, the goal of this new agreement, should be the common commitment of all Colombians, a commitment that will help overcome polarization and guarantee the acceptance of all political and social convictions,” the statement said.
The modifications and new elements in the document can be seen later in the day on the Web site www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co, though the complete accord will not be available for several days.
Hours before the new accord was announced, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday called an urgent meeting with predecessor Alvaro Uribe, who was the staunchest opponent of the earlier peace deal.
Last week, Uribe and another former Colombian president, Andres Pastrana, presented Santos with a document containing 500 proposals for modifying the agreement signed on Sept. 26 in the northern Colombian city of Cartagena.
Aimed at bringing an end to Colombia’s decades-old armed conflict, the earlier deal was hailed internationally and led to Santos being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month.
But many in Colombia criticized it for being too lenient on the guerrillas and rejected it by a slim margin in an Oct. 2 nationwide referendum, sending the peace delegates back to the negotiating table.