Colom­bian vot­ers say no to Farc peace deal

Agree­ment crit­i­cised as be­ing too le­nient to the rebels

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

REUTERS/ Peace re­searchers dropped Colombia yes­ter­day from a list of favourites for the No­bel Peace Prize af­ter Colom­bians voted “No” in a ref­er­en­dum to an agree­ment to end a 52-year war with Marx­ist rebels.

Sun­day’s sur­prise re­jec­tion of the ac­cord, af­ter crit­i­cism that it was too le­nient to the rebels, im­proved chances for other No­bel can­di­dates such as Rus­sian hu­man rights ac­tivists or bro­kers of Iran’s nu­clear deal to take the peace award, they said.

“Colombia’s off any cred­i­ble list,” Kris­tian Harpviken, head of the Peace Re­search In­sti­tute, Oslo, an­nounced on Fri­day.

Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos and Farc’s top com­man­der Ro­drigo Lon­dono, bet­ter known by his nom de guerre Ti­mochenko, had been widely tipped for the 8.0 mil­lion Swedish crown ($936,000 ) award be­fore the ref­er­en­dum.

The prize has of­ten gone to en­cour­ag­ing peace pro­cesses, such as in North­ern Ire­land in 1998, be­tween Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans in 1994 or even in Viet­nam in 1973, but never in de­fi­ance of a pop­u­lar vote.

“It is now out of the ques­tion to give a prize for Colombia,” said Asle Sveen, a his­to­rian who tracks the prize. He had pre­vi­ously tipped the Colom­bian agree­ment to win, for end­ing a war in which more than 220,000 peo­ple died.

Sveen said he now thought the award would go to the agree­ment be­tween Iran and world pow­ers to end sanc­tions on Tehran in re­turn for shrink­ing its nu­clear pro­gramme.

/REUTERS

For­mer Colom­bian Vice Pres­i­dent Fran­cisco San­tos cel­e­brates af­ter the na­tion voted “no” in a ref­er­en­dum on a peace deal be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels, at Bo­li­var Square, Bo­gota, yes­ter­day

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