Colombian voters narrowly rejected a referendum Sunday
Final results showed a little more than 50% voted no
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Tuesday that the ceasefire signed with Marxist rebel group FARC will expire at the end of the month.
“I hope that we can advance in our accords and dialogues so that we can settle on the arrangements, and the agreements that allow us to put in place a solution to this conflict,” Santos said in a televised statement.
Colombia was thrown into disarray Sunday after voters narrowly rejected a referendum on the deal brokered between the government and FARC to end a 52-year war. Final results showed a little more than 50% of voters chose “no.”
On Wednesday, Santos will meet with opposition leader and former president Alvaro Uribe. Santos will also meet with former president Andrés Pastrana Arango, who also opposed the peace deal.
Santos has tasked a three-person panel with reworking the peace deal between the government and FARC rebels.
Reworking the peace deal
Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo is currently in Havana with Chief Negotiator Humberto de la Calle meeting with FARC negotiators.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin told journalists Tuesday that it’ll be up to the FARC to decide the next step.
“The decision on whether or not to open up the agreements is more of a decision of the FARC.”
Holguin added the international community was concerned by the referendum result, but remained hopeful that political parties in Colombia could meet quickly to bring an end to the conflict.
FARC members and supporters feel the group has already made many concessions in its quest for a peace settlement. Members and supporters are against the idea of subjecting former rebels to jail time to satisfy the demands of those who rejected the deal.
Four years of negotiation
The ceasefire between the Colombian government and FARC rebels – which was signed on June 24 2016 – took over four years to negotiate. A peace settlement would have ended a 52-year-old war, which has claimed an estimated 220,000 lives and displaced as many as five million people.
Under the peace deal, the FARC rebel fighters were supposed to renounce their arms and rejoin civil society.
FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, better known as Timoleón Jiménez, tweeted about the end of the ceasefire Tuesday morning and questioned if the war would continue after that.
On Monday, the FARC leadership released a statement expressing sadness at the voter results, but asserted that their goal as a political movement stood strong.
“The FARC maintains the will of peace and reiterates its disposition to only use words as a weapon for constructing the future,” read the statement.
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.