Colombia leader tries to save peace deal

BOGOTA. KAZINFORM - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has appointed a team of senior government officials to launch talks with the opposition on changes to a peace deal with the Farc rebel group, BBC News reports.

Mr Santos made the announcement after meeting with political party leaders.

The peace deal was rejected by a narrow margin in a referendum on Sunday.

Former President Alvaro Uribe, who led the "no" campaign, did not attend the meeting but appointed three negotiators to hold talks with the government.

Mr Uribe, a senator and leader of the Democratic Centre party, wants rebels who committed serious crimes to serve prison sentences and for some of the Farc leaders to be banned from politics.

The peace deal was signed last week after nearly four years of negotiations, which were held in the Cuban capital, Havana.

For the agreement to be implemented, putting an end to 52 years of conflict, it would have had to be ratified by the Colombian people in a referendum.
Pre-election polls had indicated a strong victory for the "yes" camp.

But in a surprise result, 50.2% of voters rejected the agreement.

The difference was about 54,000 votes out of almost 13 million ballots. Turnout was low with fewer than 38% of voters casting their votes.

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