San­tos re­ceives No­bel Peace Prize

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

OSLO: Colom­bia’s peace deal be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the Marx­ist FARC rebels is a model for wartorn coun­tries like Syria, Colom­bian Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos said yes­ter­day as he ac­cepted the No­bel Peace Prize. The peace ac­cord, signed on Novem­ber 24 to end five decades of con­flict, is a “model for the res­o­lu­tion of armed con­flicts that have yet to be re­solved around the world.”

“It proves that what, at first, seems im­pos­si­ble, through per­se­ver­ance may be­come pos­si­ble even in Syria or Ye­men or South Su­dan,” San­tos said dur­ing a lav­ish cer­e­mony at Oslo’s City Hall, decked out in red, or­ange and white roses and car­na­tions im­ported from Colom­bia for the oc­ca­sion.

Af­ter a first peace deal was re­jected in a pop­u­lar vote on Oc­to­ber 2, the rebels and gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­ated a new ac­cord to end the con­flict, which has killed more than 260,000 peo­ple, left 45,000 miss­ing and forced nearly seven mil­lion to flee their homes. “The Colom­bian peace agree­ment is a ray of hope in a world trou­bled by so many con­flicts and so much in­tol­er­ance,” he said.

Yet in an interview with AFP just hours be­fore Saturday’s prize cer­e­mony, San­tos ac­knowl­edged that the hard­est part of the coun­try’s peace process was yet to come. The pe­riod ahead “is a more dif­fi­cult phase than the (ne­go­ti­a­tion) process it­self, and will re­quire a lot of ef­fort, per­se­ver­ance and hu­mil­ity,” he said.

“A lot of co­or­di­na­tion ef­forts will also be needed... to bring the ben­e­fits of peace to the re­gions that have suf­fered the most in the con­flict,” he added. He also said he could of­fer no guar­an­tees there would be a peace deal in place with Colom­bia’s sec­ond-largest rebel group, the Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army (ELN), be­fore the end of his man­date in 2018. “I will do my best but to es­tab­lish a time frame is al­ways counter-pro­duc­tive in ne­go­ti­a­tions of this sort,” he said.

In a speech at the cer­e­mony, Berit Reiss-An­der­sen, deputy chair­woman of the No­bel com­mit­tee, urged “all sides in Colom­bia to carry on the na­tional di­a­logue and con­tinue on the road to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. “Hope­fully, a sim­i­lar ne­go­ti­ated dis­ar­ma­ment agree­ment with the ELN guer­rilla will soon be in place as well.” The No­bel prize con­sists of a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque for eight mil­lion Swedish kro­nor (824,000 eu­ros, $871,000), a sum San­tos promised to do­nate to the vic­tims of the war.

Dy­lan’s snub

Later, an­other cer­e­mony will be held in Stock­holm where the No­bel lau­re­ates in the sci­ences, eco­nom­ics and lit­er­a­ture will be hon­ored-a cer­e­mony marked by the no­table ab­sence of this year’s lit­er­a­ture lau­re­ate, Bob Dy­lan. The first song­writer to win the pres­ti­gious award, he has de­clined to at­tend the glit­ter­ing cer­e­mony due to “pre-ex­ist­ing com­mit­ments”. The no-show has cre­ated a stir in Swe­den, where it has been per­ceived as a slight to­wards the Swedish Acad­emy that awards the lit­er­a­ture prize and the No­bel Foun­da­tion. An­nounced as the win­ner on Oc­to­ber 14, Dy­lan waited al­most two weeks to pub­licly ac­knowl­edge the ac­co­lade, a si­lence one Acad­emy mem­ber termed “im­po­lite and ar­ro­gant”. Dy­lan did ul­ti­mately say he was hon­ored to win, but then in­formed the Acad­emy in mid-Novem­ber that he would not be travelling to Stock­holm to ac­cept his prize. “A slap in the face,” re­marked ed­i­to­ri­al­ist Lena Mellin at one of Swe­den’s big­gest dailies, Afton­bladet. “Any­one who has ever re­ceived a prize, even if it’s just for be­ing the best neigh­bor in the apart­ment build­ing, knows that the least one can do is go and ac­cept it,” she wrote. On so­cial me­dia, opin­ions were mixed. “If it were me, I would prob­a­bly... col­lect a No­bel Prize and $900,000. But it’s Bob, and that’s part of what makes him Bob,” wrote fan Evan Sarzin on the singer’s Face­book page. “He is 75, give him a break,” ar­gued an­other, Karen Lunebach.

— AP

OSLO: No­bel Peace Prize Lau­re­ate Colom­bian Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos poses with the medal and diploma dur­ing the Peace Prize award­ing cer­e­mony at the City Hall.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.