Colombia government, rebels in crisis talks after ‘no’ to peace deal
AFP PhotoThe Colombian government and Marxist guerrillas went back to the drawing board on Oct. 4 after a peace deal they painstakingly negotiated over four years was rejected in a shock referendum result.
In a vote that confounded opinion polls and was a disaster for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombians narrowly rebuffed the pact on Oct. 2 as too lenient on the rebels.
Lead negotiators Humberto de la Calle and Sergio Jaramillo were back at a Havana convention center on Oct. 4 meeting counterparts from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to see what the rebels are willing to do, the government said.
The Cuban capital had been the venue since 2012 for talks between the two sides that reached an accord to end Colombia’s 52-year war, which has killed around a quarter of a million people.
All sides, including “No” voters, who carried the day on Oct. 2 by less than half a percentage point, say they want an end to war, and the two parties have kept their cease-fire.
But Santos said Oct. 4 that the cease-fire with FARC rebels will end on Oct. 31.
The chief of FARC Rodrigo Londono, better known as Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, promptly took to Twitter to ask “And after that, the war continues?”
Just a day earlier, he had vowed the guerrillas would continue to observe the cease-fire despite the referendum results.
“I hope we can move forward... to realize the necessary agreement to find a solution to this conflict,” Santos said in a televised address from the presidential palace.