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Colombians Reject Peace Deal with Farc Rebels | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos speaks during a Presidential address in Bogota, Colombia, October 2, 2016. Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Bogotá- Voters in Colombia have rejected a landmark peace deal with Farc rebels in a shock referendum result.

The distressed voters challenged the government’s attempt to put an end to 52 years of conflict, rejecting the deal, contrariwise the survey expectations.

Both parties have been negotiating since four years on this deal. They then presented it for a referendum without preparing an alternative plan. The total of no-voters reached 54,000.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos admitted the defeat in the survey during a televised speech. “I will not give up; I will keep seeking peace,” Santos said. He added that the ceasefire between government forces and the Farc would remain in place.

Santos also declared that he will summon the political forces, especially the no-voters, to dialogue with them and to take a decision on the track Colombia will follow.

“We will remain engaged in the definitive bilateral ceasefire,” said Farc Chief Rodrigo Londono, better known as Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, in a speech delivered in Havana. “The peace is here to stay,” he added.

The supporters of the deal hoped it would put an end to the last armed conflict in Latin America, but the referendum results were quite a shock. According to the e-published results, 50.2% of voters rejected the agreement compared with 49.8% who voted for it.

The deal stipulates disarming the 5765 Frac rebels and transforming this group into a political one that has seats in the Colombian congress. The deal also promises compensations for the victims and trials.

Throughout the decades, this conflict caused the death of more than 260,000, the missing of 45,000 and the displacement of 6.9 million.