Pope brings Colom­bia pres­i­dent, main critic to talk peace

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Pope Fran­cis brought Colom­bia’s pres­i­dent and his main po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent to­gether to dis­cuss the coun­try’s rebel peace deal yesterday, mak­ing a re­mark­able per­sonal in­ter­ven­tion to seal an ac­cord end­ing Latin Amer­ica’s long­est-run­ning con­flict.

The Vat­i­can dis­trib­uted a photo of the three men sit­ting at Fran­cis’ desk and said the meet­ing be­gan at 12:35 pm (1135GMT) and lasted 25 min­utes.

Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos had al­ready been sched­uled to meet with Fran­cis yesterday as part of a Euro­pean tour af­ter pick­ing up this year’s No­bel Peace Prize in Oslo, and the two met as planned.

The Vat­i­can, though, also in­vited San­tos’ right-wing pre­de­ces­sor in the pres­i­dency, Al­varo Uribe. Uribe flew overnight from Bo­gota and met pri­vately with Fran­cis in an unan­nounced au­di­ence af­ter San­tos left. The three men then joined up to­gether in Fran­cis’ pri­vate study to dis­cuss the coun­try’s peace ac­cord with rebels, the Vat­i­can said.

Uribe, the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar politi­cian, had led the cam­paign against San­tos’ deal with the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia that re­sulted in in the ac­cord’s shock re­jec­tion in an Oc­to­ber ref­er­en­dum. — AP

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