10/07/2016, 12.15
NORWAY - COLOMBIA
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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wins 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

The politician was honored for "his determined efforts in ending the civil war in his country, which lasted more than 50 years, a war that cost the lives of at least 220 thousand Colombians and caused six million displaced persons". On June 22 Bogota and the guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached a peace agreement, which was, however, rejected by a referendum.

 

Oslo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. This was announced by the Norwegian Commission, which has decided to reward the politician for "his determined efforts in ending the civil war in his country, lasting more than 50 years, a war that cost the lives of at least 220 thousand Colombians and caused six million displaced persons. " The award also "is also a tribute to the people of Colombia, who has not given up a just peace, and all parties who contributed to the peace process."

Juan Manuel Santos, 65, is president of Colombia since 2010, having held the positions of Minister of Trade, Finance and Defense.

The war between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Bogota began in 1964, after the military suppression of a peasant revolt. Manuel Marulanda (died 2008) led a group of farmers trained in Marxism and decided to start an armed struggle to establish an independent state. After more than 40 years of guerrilla war, in 2010 Juan Manuel Santos began secret negotiations with the FARC.

On June 22, the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas announced an historic agreement for a permanent ceasefire and signed a peace treaty in Havana. On 3 October, however, a referendum - wanted by Santos - rejected the agreement. 51.3% of Colombians voted "No", believing that the agreement gave too many concessions to FARC. The agreement in fact included a draft amnesty for guerrillas who have not completed crimes against humanity and reduced penalties for those who confess their crimes.

This result, writes the Oslo press release, " result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again". The referendum, the message continues, " referendum was not a vote for or against peace […] the Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasizes the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process".

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