Pope brings Colombia president, main critic to talk peace
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