‘In­ten­tion is to hon­our the peo­ple’

San­tos hopes to end a five decade long civil war

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

OSLO: THE No­bel Peace Prize has been awarded to Colom­bian pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos for his on­go­ing ef­forts to end a five-decade-long civil war that has killed more than 220 000 peo­ple.

The prize came to San­tos just days af­ter Colom­bian vot­ers by a slight mar­gin re­jected a land­mark peace agree­ment that San­tos had ne­go­ti­ated with rebel lead­ers, a sig­nif­i­cant blow to hopes for a last­ing peace. Here’s a look at why San­tos won the prize and the im­pact of his achieve­ments.

Sig­nif­i­cance of the prize The 65-year-old Colom­bian pres­i­dent was recog­nised for tire­less ef­forts to end the chronic vi­o­lence that has gripped his South Amer­i­can coun­try for decades.

The deal he helped ne­go­ti­ate would have given the rebel forces sub­stan­tial in­duce­ments to join the po­lit­i­cal process. Those will­ing to hand over their weapons and ad­mit to war crimes would not have re­ceived prison sen­tences and the Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia ( Farc) would have been granted 10 seats in congress for the next decade to give the group a foothold in na­tional pol­i­tics.

The Nor­we­gian No­bel Com­mit­tee said the peace process was still on­go­ing and that the public did not re­ject peace but sim­ply the specifics of this deal. It also said the award is in­tended to hon­our the Colom­bian peo­ple, who have not given up their hopes for peace. The com­mit­tee did not choose to hon­our Ro­drigo Lon­dono, the leader of Farc rebels, or to men­tion him in the ci­ta­tion.

The vi­o­lent civil war has long held back eco­nomic and so­cial progress in Colom­bia, a coun­try known for its beauty and nat­u­ral re­sources.

Re­ac­tion San­tos said he ded­i­cated the prize to the peo­ple of Colom­bia, par­tic­u­larly those who “have suf­fered in this war that we are on the verge of end­ing”.

He said in an in­ter­view posted on the No­bel Foun­da­tion’s Face­book page that the end of the con­flict is near.

“We are very, very close. We just need to push a bit fur­ther to per­se­vere,” he said. Many had be­lieved the coun­try’s re­jec­tion of the peace deal in a ref­er­en­dum had quashed his chances of be­ing recog­nised by the No­bel com­mit­tee.

Colom­bia’s Lit­er­a­ture lau­re­ate

Colom­bian nov­el­ist and jour­nal­ist Gabriel Gar­cia Mar­quez was awarded the No­bel Prize in Lit­er­a­ture in 1982. Many of his works dealt with the po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and in­sta­bil­ity that has long gripped Colom­bia – the plague San­tos is seek­ing to end through ne­go­ti­a­tions. When Mar­quez died in 2014, San­tos praised him as “the great­est Colom­bian of all time”. – ANA-AP

PIC­TURE: AP

Colom­bia’s pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos de­liv­ers a state­ment to the press af­ter meet­ing with for­mer pres­i­dent Al­varo Uribe and other op­po­si­tion lead­ers at the pres­i­den­tial palace in Bo­gota, Colom­bia, this week. San­tos has won the No­bel Peace Prize.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Olav Njoel­stad, sec­re­tary of the No­bel com­mit­tee and Kaci Kull­mann Five, chair­man of the com­mit­tee, an­nounce the lau­re­ate of No­bel Peace Prize 2016: Colom­bian pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos.

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