Colombian govt strike new peace deal with FARC rebels after referendum rejection

People react as they celebrate the new agreement between the Colombian Government and Colombian FARC rebel group at Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota, Colombia on Nov 12, 2016.
People react as they celebrate the new agreement between the Colombian Government and Colombian FARC rebel group at Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota, Colombia on Nov 12, 2016. PHOTO: EPA
Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (left) and the head of the Colombian government's delegation for peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, shake hands after the signing of a new peace agreement in Havana, on Nov 12, 201
Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (left) and the head of the Colombian government's delegation for peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, shake hands after the signing of a new peace agreement in Havana, on Nov 12, 2016. PHOTO: AFP
President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos speaking during his speech on the new peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group in Bogota, Colombia on Nov 12, 2016.
President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos speaking during his speech on the new peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group in Bogota, Colombia on Nov 12, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

HAVANA (AFP, REUTERS) - Colombia's government and Marxist FARC rebels on Saturday (Nov 12) announced a revised peace deal to end 52 years of armed conflict, after voters rejected a prior peace accord in a 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, which we have gone through one by one," said a joint statement read out by diplomats from Cuba and Norway, the peace process guarantors.

The United States hailed the agreement, and pledged continuing US support in implementing the peace agreement.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and President Juan Manuel Santos' government have been meeting since Oct 22 to try to rescue a peace deal that has taken four years to negotiate.

In an Oct 2 referendum, voters unexpectedly rejected a peace deal put forward by Santos and the FARC, deeming it too soft on the country's largest rebel group.

Talks with the smaller ELN (National Liberation Army) are on hold over government demands it first free all hostages.

Both developments have been a blow to Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to bring "total peace" to Colombia.

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the revised agreement was "a testament to the commitment shown by all sides, including those who did not support the original accord, to ending this 52-year conflict and building a just and lasting peace in Colombia."

She commended Santos "for forming an inclusive national dialogue to incorporate into this revised agreement concerns of those who voted against the initially proposed peace agreement."

However, Former President Alvaro Uribe, who led opposition to the original deal said he asked for the opportunity for his camp and the victims of the conflict to briefly study the new accord before its implementation.

"I have asked the president that the texts they announce in Havana not be definitive," he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account, adding that his camp might want to make some further tweaks.

Founded in 1964, the FARC and the ELN are the last two leftist guerrilla groups involved in a messy, multi-sided conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people.