Santos: Colombia’s ceasefire with FARC to end this month

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Members of Colombia's air force fly a practice mission (Photo courtesy Ejercito Nacional)
Members of Colombia's air force fly a practice mission (Photo courtesy Ejercito Nacional)

President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday night that a bilateral ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will end midnight on October 31, as both sides scramble to resurrect a peace accord after voters narrowly rejected the deal in Sunday’s plebiscite.

“We cannot prolong this process and dialogue for very long because we are in a grey area, a sort of limbo that is very dangerous and risky and could end the entire [peace] process,” Santos said in a televised address.

The announcement appeared to surprise FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko” who had said after Sunday’s results that the rebel group was still dedicated to reaching a deal.

“So from then on the war continues?” Timochenko said in his Twitter account.

Although polls predicted the peace accord would be overwhelmingly approved, 50.2 percent of voters rejected the deal on Sunday, a result that has thrown the country into uncertainty about its future.

Santos said during the campaign that he had no “plan B” if voters were to reject the deal.

The bilateral ceasefire, which came into force on August 29, was hailed by Santos as “definitive” and a “historic step” to end more than 50 years of war.

Santos said he will meet on Wednesday with ex-presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana to discuss the future of the peace process.

On Wednesday morning Colombia’s defense ministry released a statement saying the ceasefire could be extended “for the security of civilians, members of FARC and security forces.”

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