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Colombia extends Farc truce to give more time to save a peace deal

Colombia extends Farc truce to give more time to save a peace deal

PanARMENIAN.Net - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has extended a ceasefire with Farc rebels until the end of the year to give more time to save a peace deal, BBC News reports.

The accord, signed with the left-wing rebel group last month, was narrowly rejected in a national referendum.

Santos has spent the past few days meeting those who campaigned for a "No" vote.

He will take new proposals to a meeting with Farc leaders in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The original ceasefire ended with the referendum and has already been extended until 31 October.

In a televised address, Santos said he made the decision to extend the ceasefire further after meeting student leaders who had organised marches through Bogota in support of the peace deal.

"One of the students reminded me that in the army and in the guerrilla ranks, there are young people waiting to see what happens, hoping that they don't need to fire another shot," he said.

"For that reason, and at the request of the students, I have taken the decision to extend the ceasefire until 31 December."

Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for reaching the peace agreement which took more than four years to negotiate.

The campaign to reject the deal, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, called for a stronger line to be taken against former rebels.

They were angered that Farc guerrillas were offered congressional seats and non-custodial sentences such as clearing landmines in return for ending the conflict.

Farc leader Timoleon Rodriguez, better known as Timochenko, said he was confident the deal could be revived although he said he would be reluctant to renegotiate some elements of the accord.

An estimated 220,000 people have been killed during more than 50 years of conflict.

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