Bogota: Colombia‘s government published a revised peace accord with Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels on Monday in a bid to build support to end a 52-year war, after the original draft was rejected last month in a referendum amid objections it was too favourable to the rebels.
The expanded and highly technical 310-page document appears to make only small modifications to the original text, such as clarifying private property rights and detailing more fully how the rebels would be confined to rural areas for crimes committed during the war.
The government and FARC, which have been holding talks in Havana for four years, said the new document incorporated proposals from the opposition, religious leaders and others to end a conflict that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions.
Substantial changes, such as jail terms for rebel leaders and banning them from public office, were not included. That is likely to anger former President Alvaro Uribe, who spearheaded opposition to the original accord.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to end the war, hopes to unite the divided nation behind the new deal after the peace process was endangered by its rejection in an October 2 plebiscite. Colombian voters were deeply split, with many worried the FARC would not be punished and others hopeful the deal would cement an end to violence.
“We are convinced that reading the entire document will allow integral and genuine comprehension of what has been agreed and to see that the changes, precisions and adjustments in the new accord strengthens it and answers concerns and suggestions made by different sectors of society,” the government and FARC said in a joint statement in the early hours of Monday.
The new agreement will not jail rebels but those who confess to war crimes will be restricted to specific rural areas for between five and eight years.
Santos said on Saturday that banning the rebels from holding public office – a key demand by many opponents of the initial agreement – was impossible in the new negotiations.
Uribe has yet to comment on the new draft and it is still unclear how the new accord might be submitted for approval.
Santos is not obliged by law to hold a new referendum.
He could seek to ratify it through Congress but that may cause a political and social firestorm as feelings against the FARC run deep.