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Colombia's Government and FARC Sign Modified Peace Accord


FARC guerrilla commander Ivan Marquez, center, and the head of the Colombian delegation for peace talks, Humberto de la Calle, shake hands after signing a new peace agreement next to Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla in Havana, Nov. 12, 2016.

Colombia's government and its largest rebel group announced a new, modified peace accord Saturday, after voters rejected an earlier deal in a referendum.

The government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - a Marxist guerrilla group - said in a joint statement they had incorporated proposals from various groups in the new deal.

“It is a better agreement," said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who last month won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the war.

Chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle and rebel negotiator Luciano Marin, known as Ivan Marquez, signed the deal in Havana, Cuba.

De la Calle said one main change was a requirement FARC present a complete inventory of its assets, which are destined for victim compensation.

"This accord was an opportunity to resolve many criticisms and disatisfactions, but, above all, to unite us as Colombians. Once against we prove that, despite differences and different visions, through dialogue, it is possible to reach points in common."

Marquez said "the only thing the new accord needs now is to be put into effect.

"We present the Colombian nation the new definite peace accord which we prefer to call the Hope Accord, a powerful instrument to democratize the country and for people's rights to materialize."

The new accord also takes foreign magistrates off special peace tribunals, although there will be foreign observers, and stipulates FARC must turn in "exhaustive and detailed" information about its involvement in the drugs trade.

The United States congratulated the government and the president of Colombia on reaching the peace agreement with FARC. “This progress is a testament to the commitment shown by all sides, including those who did not support the original accord,” the White House said in a statement.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement the "agreement constitutes an important step forward on Colombia’s path to a just and durable peace. The United States, in coordination with the Government of Colombia, will continue to support full implementation of the final peace agreement."

It was unclear if Santos will put the new accord up for another popular vote.

The deal is bringing to an end 52 years of armed conflict in Colombia that has claimed more than 220,000 lives.