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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 07:21 PM

Colombian president opens door to popular vote on FARC peace deal

Colombian president opens door to popular vote on FARC peace deal
Helen Murphy Reuters
5:32 p.m. EST, January 16, 2013

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday opened the door to a popular vote on any peace accord negotiated and signed with FARC rebels, but rejected a guerrilla demand to change the constitution if a deal is clinched.

Talks to bring an end to Latin America's longest-running insurgency began in Cuba in November, when the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, sat down for the first round of a five-point peace agenda.

Ivan Marquez, head of the Marxist FARC negotiating team, has called for a national assembly to change Colombia's constitution and ensure any agreements would be set in stone.

The drug-funded group, which has fought successive governments since 1964 and killed tens of thousands, reiterated their demand on Tuesday. But Santos rejected the idea.


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