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Colombian President: ‘I Will Keep Looking for Peace’ With Terrorists

Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told his country that he would “keep looking for peace” after voters rejected a peace deal Sunday that he negotiated with terrorists.

“I will not give up, I will keep looking for peace up until the last day of my term,” Santos said to Colombians in a televised address after just over 50 percent of Colombian voters said “No” to the president’s peace deal.

The Colombian leader has “given orders to our chief negotiator to go to Havana tomorrow to keep [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] FARC negotiators informed about this political dialogue.”

The peace deal between the government and the Marxist rebels was finalized in August and signed Sept. 26. The deal would have ended over 50 years of violence that has claimed 260,000 lives. Government and terrorist negotiators had been meeting in Havana since November 2012 to try and work out a peace deal.

“Tomorrow, I will meet with all the political parties involved in this process, particularly those who voted ‘No’,” Santos said, extending an olive branch to those that oppose the deal. “I want to listen to them [political leaders against the peace deal], open a dialogue with them, and find a path to move forward,” he continued.

Conservative Colombian Sen. Alvaro Uribe and his Democratic Center (known by the Spanish acronym CD) led the “No” campaign ahead of Sunday’s plebiscite. Uribe was the president of Colombia from 2002 to 2010 and Santos was the minister of defense in his cabinet.

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