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Colombia extends ceasefire with Farc rebels to save peace deal

Published 14/10/2016

Juan Manuel Santos is extending the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia until December 31 (AP)
Juan Manuel Santos is extending the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia until December 31 (AP)

President Juan Manuel Santos has extended a ceasefire with Colombia's largest rebel movement to give more time to efforts to save a peace deal rejected by voters.

Mr Santos said in a televised address that he was extending the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) until December 31.

He made the announcement after meeting students who have been organising demonstrations to demand the accord be implemented immediately despite it being rejected in a referendum.

Mr Santos is engaged in three-way talks with the Farc and the opposition to find ways to adjust the deal so it gains broader support.

He insisted the new date for the ceasefire to expire is not a deadline and hopefully talks will succeed before then.

Mr Santos said: "Let it be clear: this isn't an ultimatum or deadline."

He said the lives of soldiers and guerrillas depend on warfare not resuming. "Time is conspiring against peace and life."

Former president Alvaro Uribe, who led opposition to the accord, is demanding deep changes such as stiffer penalties for rebels who committed war crimes.

The rebels, who would be spared jail time under the agreement, are insisting they will not go back to the drawing board and throw out more than four years of negotiations with the government.

Press Association

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