Oslo, Oct 7:
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was on Friday awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for concluding a historic peace pact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) to end a 50-year-long civil war in the South American nation.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize “for his resolute efforts to (end) the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war” in which more than 220,000 Colombians died and close to six million were displaced.
According to a statement, the award should be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace and to all the parties who contributed to the peace process.
However, the Colombian public rejected the October 2 referendum on the peace agreement, for which negotiations began in Cuba in 2012 and was signed on September 26 this year in the Colombian city Cartagena, with “No” campaign winning with 52 per cent votes.
There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono, continue to respect the ceasefire, the statement said.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasised the importance of the fact that Santos was now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process.
The civil war in Colombia is one of the longest civil wars in modern times and the sole remaining armed conflict in the Americas. (IANS)