Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende has had a special interest in peace talks between the Colombian government and the guerrilla organization FARC, not least since Norway has nurtured them for years. Now he hopes a new agreement, announced over the weekend, will indeed take force that also will be accepted by a majority of Colombians.
Those voting in a referendum on the initial pact reached earlier this year rejected it. “I’m glad the two sides have reached a new peace pact based on input that’s come during the national dialogue,” Brende said Sunday after news broke that a new agreement had been reached between the government and FARC.
“The agreement represents a new opportunity for Colombia to end several decades of conflict,” Brende said. “It’s important that the international community supports it.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his efforts to come to terms with FARC, despite and perhaps because of the referendum’s failure just a few days earlier. Santos is due to travel to Oslo for the Peace Prize ceremony on December 10, and hopes are high that a peace pact can also be celebrated.
The peace talks between FARC and the government started in Oslo in October 2012 and have proceeded in Havana. The goal is to end more than 50 years of armed conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of Colombians and forced 6 million more to flee their homes.