Colombia peace deal: Government and Farc reach new agreement

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People protest after the first peace deal to end a 52-year war between the state and the communist Farc rebels was rejected, Bogota, 2 October 2 2016Image source, Getty Images
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The first peace deal met resistance as many claimed it allowed Farc rebels to get away with murder

The Colombian government and the Farc rebel group have announced a new peace agreement, six weeks after the original deal was rejected in a popular vote.

The two sides, which have been holding talks in Cuba for four years, said the revised plan incorporated proposals from the opposition and others groups.

The initial deal had been deemed to be too favourable to the left-wing rebels.

The new agreement is not expected to be put to another popular vote, but rather submitted to Congress.

"We have reached a new final agreement to end the armed conflict, which incorporates changes, clarifications and some new contributions from various social groups," the two sides said in a statement.

It was read by diplomats from Cuba and Norway, the mediating countries, in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The statement did not give details of the revised agreement but Colombia's lead negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, said it "resolves many criticisms" of the previous deal.

One new requirement was for the Farc to draw up a complete list of its assets, to be used for victim compensation, he added. Further details are expected to be released over the weekend.

Image source, Getty Images
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Farc representative Ivan Marquez (left) shook hands with government negotiator Humberto de la Calle

However the leader of the "No" campaign, former President Alvaro Uribe, said the new proposals did not go far enough.

The previous deal was rejected by 50.2% of voters in a vote held on 2 October.

Many objected to the lenient sentences given to fighters who confessed to crimes. Some would have avoided serving any time in conventional prisons.

Those who opposed the deal also balked at the government's plan to pay demobilised Farc rebels a monthly stipend while offering those wanting to start a business financial help.

Polls had initially indicated that the agreement would be approved by a comfortable margin, but opposition to the agreement had been stronger than expected.

Despite the rejection of the deal by voters, President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the negotiations.

Colombia's largest rebel group

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Image caption,
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) was formed in 1964

Farc, Colombia's largest rebel group, was formed in 1964 with the stated intention of overthrowing the government and installing a Marxist regime.

After modest beginnings, the group rose to prominence through the 1980s and 1990s as its association with the drugs trade improved its financial standing.

At its peak it was the largest and best-equipped guerrilla force in Latin America.

But the number of active Farc fighters has diminished from its estimated high of 20,000 to about 7,000 after thousands of guerrilla fighters were demobilised or killed.

Colombia's second-largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has also been engaged in an armed conflict for more than five decades.

About 260,000 people have killed and millions displaced in the 52-year conflict.