Sunday, October 02, 2016

Despite Colombia's "No" Win, FARC and Santos Committed to Peace

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC-EP leader Timoleon Jimenez. | Photo: AFP

President Santos reiterated that the bilateral cease-fire remains in effect.

FARC-EP head Timoleon Jimenez expressed the rebels' deep disappointment in Colombia's "No" win at a press conference from Havana Sunday night, shortly after electoral authorities declared that the “No” vote against the peace deal won by a slim margin.

“The FARC-EP commits itself to use only words as weapons for peace,” said Timoleon. “The struggle for peace continues,” adding with optimism that “there was still hope.”

The rebel leader "deeply deplored" the result as a deceiving campaign by the “No,” campaign led by the "destructive powers planting the seeds of hatred and resentment among Colombia's people.”

“Whoever wishes peace in Colombia can rely on the FARC-EP. Peace shall win!” he concluded.

A few minutes later, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos also deplored the results, saying from Bogota that he “acknowledged that the majority, with a very short margin, said 'No'” to the peace deal his government negotiated for four years with the rebels, while “the other half said 'Yes.'"

“I am the guarantor of the country's stability, my duty is to maintain public order while continuing to seek peace for the country,” he told reporters, adding that the bilateral cease-fire was still in effect. “We all want peace, without exception."

The head of state announced he will convoke all the political forces on Monday, “especially the forces supporting the 'No,' in order to find points of agreement and unity.”

In the meantime, he added, the state's chief peace delegation, as well as the high commissioner on peace, will travel to Havana in order to discuss developments with the FARC-EP peace delegation.

“I will not surrender. We will all come out stronger from this. We will find peace and move forwards,” he repeated outside the presidential palace.

Senator Ivan Cepada, from the left-wing Democratic Pole, told teleSUR that the results needed to be processed “in cold blood” in order to find a strategy that will still lead to peace for Colombia,

“The peace deal was agreed between with the FARC-EP and the government and received a strong support from the international community,” he said.

He highlighted the low voter turnout—an estimated 22 million abstentions—and gave his opinion on the reasons why: “on the coastal Atlantic, many voters could not go to the polling stations because of hurricane Matthew,” but “unfortunately many believed the dirty campaign for the "No.'"

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