Colombia′s president to allow congressional debate on peace deal | News | DW | 19.11.2016
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Colombia's president to allow congressional debate on peace deal

President Juan Manuel Santos said Colombia’s congress will debate a revised peace deal with rebels before it is signed into law. It is uncertain whether the new deal will face another referendum.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced his country's congress will be allowed to debate a ratified peace deal.

"I agree that the discussions should move to Congress, and we will do so next week, on Wednesday,” said Santos in a televised address Saturday.

The Colombian government published a revised peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) this week after the original deal was rejected in a referendum in October. The original draft was considered too favorable to the rebels.

Critics of the initial deal, led by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, outlined approximately 500 modification proposals on 57 topics that were then given to FARC. The Colombian government and FARC agreed to modifications on 56 topics, all but one of which would have banned rebels from politics or holding office once the treaty is initiated. A second referendum is not expected.

The most critical component of the peace treaty is reintegrating rebels into society through the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). Since peace talks started in 2003, Colombia has maintained a DDR program that significantly reduced FARC numbers and helped former rebels learn basic skills and find jobs.

A fragile cease fire is in effect in Colombia, and Santos argued for implementing the accord as soon as possible. His comments come after two FARC members were killed while in combat with security forces in an incident that is being investigated by UN-sponsored monitors.

The Colombian civil war has lasted for more than half a century and claimed more than 220,000 lives. Nearly 8 million were displaced due to the conflict.

kbd/kl (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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