Colombian government and FARC-EP sign new peace agreement

Granma | 14 November, 2016

Photo: EFE

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FACR-EP) and the government of that country signed in Havana, a new final agreement on the end to the conflict and establishment of a stable and lasting peace in the South American nation.

In the presence of Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, Iván Márquez and Humberto de la Calle, representatives of the FARC-EP and Colombian government, respectively, signed the new document, described as a better agreement.
Joint communiqué Number Four was read by representatives of guarantor nations Iván Mora for Cuba, and Dag Nylander for Norway, highlighting that the agreement must be a shared commitment of all Colombians.
Over 500 proposals following the October 2 referendum were taken into account in the new agreement, which should contribute to overcoming certain divisions, they noted.
According to De la Calle this new final agreement is better than the last, and responds to criticisms and dissatisfaction, while recognizing that it won’t be accepted by all.
He went on to highlight the broad support and contribution of diverse sectors of society toward strengthening the new agreement.
The modifications and precisions made do not contradict the convictions which shaped the first agreement, reiterated the Colombian government’s head negotiator.
Peace is winning, stated Iván Márquez, who noted that the agreement alone isn’t enough, as a piece of paper embellished with promises and good intentions, without being reviewed by the citizenry, can easily sweep away hope.
As a key to ensuring that this does not happen, he highlighted the fulfillment and implementation of the agreements by the people and their organizations, most in need of a solution to the conflict and establishment of peace.
Márquez once again called on the government of Juan Manuel Santos to establish a broad national-political agreement geared toward defining institutional reforms and adjustments needed to meet the challenges of establishing a stable and lasting peace, and launching a new framework of political and social co-existence.
The guerilla leader noted that the new agreement retains the structure and spirit of the first one, but clears up doubts, clarifies certain issues and includes proposals, such as those relating to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which featured in 65% of proposals by various sectors who voted for No during the referendum.
He also highlighted that over 100 modifications to issues concerning comprehensive land reform, political participation, the new anti-drug policy, victims, an end to the conflict, and implementation and verification of the accords were added.
For example, the FARC-EP is now required to present an inventory of goods and assets which will be used to compensate victims; while specific areas within hamlet zones where sanctions will be imposed were defined.
Also established were time-frames for the implementation of remedial actions, places of residence, monitoring mechanisms and the regulation of the approval system for displacements outside of the zone, a necessary requirement in all cases.
A proposal put for forward by a certain segment of No voters, and accepted, was that while the Special Peace Jurisdiction is in operation, duly verified remedial actions may be deducted from the imposed sanction.
The idea of incorporating the new peace agreement into the Political Constitution and so-called constitutionality block was removed and it was decided that both will honor their commitment – made in good faith – to the general principal of guaranteeing the fulfillment of the agreement.
De la Calle highlighted that discussions around peace must continue, and expressed his hope that the country decides to implement the agreements, overcome the armed conflict, open pathways to reconciliation, and strengthen efforts to achieve a more equitable society.
Márquez also called on all to participate in fulfilling this national dream and the hopes of millions of souls for a stable and lasting peace, established on the basis of respect for the rights of the people and social justice.
The time for building and brining hope to life through political struggle has arrived, filling our hearts with the greatest love for our homeland, stated the guerilla.
The new agreement represents a step forward in the long running peace process, replacing the document which was voted down by a small margin in an October 2 plebiscite, and taking into consideration subsequent proposals from diverse sectors of society.
One of the thorniest issues resolved by government and guerilla representatives was that of the Special Peace Jurisdiction, whereby courts responsible for investigating, trying and sanctioning those responsible for the conflict will be created, with zero impunity for crimes against humanity, but possible pardons and amnesty in cases of crimes of a political nature and such.
The commitment of Juan Manuel Santos and Timoleón Jiménez toward achieving peace in Colombia, were also reiterated.
Iván Márquez and Humberto de la Calle once again thanked Chile and Venezuela for their accompaniment, as well as Cuba and Norway for their intense and devoted work in support of reaching a peace agreement for Colombia.

SOURCE: http://en.granma.cu/mundo/2016-11-14/colombian-government-and-farc-ep-sign-new-peace-agreement

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