: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his “resolute” efforts to end more than five decades of war in his country, despite voters’ shock rejection of a historic peace deal.
The award was unexpected after voters rejected the terms of the landmark accord Mr. Santos clinched last month with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leader Rodrigo Londono, alias Timoleon ‘Timochenko’ Jimenez, and some observers expressed surprise that the rebel chief did not jointly receive the prize.
The Norwegian Nobel committee rewarded Mr. Santos for his “resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end,” announced chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five. The deal, signed on September 26 after nearly four years of talks, was supposed to be ratified following an October 2 referendum but voters shot down the agreement, leaving the country teetering between war and peace.
The result caught most Nobel watchers off-guard, with most experts predicting the referendum would scupper Colombia’s chances.
But the committee said the aim was to encourage peace efforts in the war-torn country, which are now in “real danger” of collapse.
“We hope that it will encourage all good initiatives and all the parties who could make a difference in the peace process and give Colombia — finally — a peace after decades of war," Ms. Kullman Five said.
The Colombia conflict has claimed more than 260,000 lives and left 45,000 missing over five decades, drawing in several Leftist guerilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs.
Nobel watchers had initially tipped Mr. Santos and Timochenko as likely winners of the prestigious prize but quickly revised their predictions after the referendum, saying such an award would be perceived as flying in the face of the will of the Colombian people.
Not jointly awarded
Asked why the prize had not been jointly awarded to the FARC leader, Ms. Kullman Five declined to answer, saying: “We will never comment on other candidates and other possibilities.”
The Nobel committee has, however, in the past honoured former enemies for peace processes at fragile stages, including those in Northern Ireland and West Asia. — AFP