‘Intention is to honour the people’
Santos hopes to end a five decade long civil war
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
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.
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.