After weeks of negotiations in Havana, the Colombian government and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) armed rebel group signed a new peace treaty after the stunning defeat of a public referendum on a previous peace deal just last month. The new deal will be put to a vote in Colombia’s Congress, rather than another public referendum.
“We have reached a new final agreement to end the armed conflict, which incorporates changes, clarifications and some new contributions from various social groups,” the government and FARC said in a joint statement.
“This accord is better insofar as it resolves many criticisms and dissatisfactions,” Humberto de la Calle, the government’s chief negotiator, told the Financial Times. “Like the first one, it will not have unanimous acceptance, but we hope it will have more solid support.”
Some of the changes involve, according to the New York Times, an apparent withdrawal of the guarantee of Congressional seats for FARC as a political party, which was a major sticking point for the opposition during the public referendum. (The Financial Times disputes that the political aspect has been removed.) It also includes provisions that FARC must “exhaustively” catalogue its involvement in the drug trade. The previous peace deal was overwhelmingly approved by Afro-Colombian areas most affected by the FARC rebels, but they were outvoted by more affluent urban areas.
The State Department, which was involved in both rounds of negotiations, put out a celebratory statement, saying, “This agreement constitutes an important step forward on Colombia’s path to a just and durable peace.” However, Sen. Álvaro Uribe, the main establishment force behind the opposition, called for the new deal to “not be definitive” until the opposition had time to read it.