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Colombia, No. 2 Rebel Group Announce Peace Talks

FILE - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos talks during a news conference after a meeting with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at Narino Palace in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 5, 2016.

The Colombian government and the country’s second largest rebel group have announced the start of peace talks October 27 in the capital of Ecuador.

Monday’s announcement of talks with the 2,000-strong National Liberation Army comes just days after Colombian voters stunned diplomats and world leaders by rejecting a peace deal ending a half century of fighting between the Bogota government and the much larger FARC insurgency.

In an address after Monday’s announcement, President Juan Manuel Santos vowed that “peace won’t slip through our fingers.” Instead, he said, “it will be stronger... and it will be complete.”

Santos’ peace accord with FARC was widely praised internationally, but narrowly defeated at home as too lenient on rebels who began fighting the government in 1964.

Despite the defeat, Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week for his efforts to end the hemisphere’s longest war.

Former President Alvaro Uribe is now attempting to renegotiate the parts of the FARC accord that would have guaranteed the rebel group congressional seats and immunity from prosecution and prison sentences.