NEW YORK, June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC praised the announcement of a peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC that could end decades of violence that have left more than 220,000 dead and millions displaced.
"The Colombian peace accord is a perfect example of what can be accomplished in direct talks when both sides are committed," said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC's Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs.
President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono will sign the accord in Havana today. The details of the agreement and its implementation are expected to be finalized by July 20, Colombian Independence Day. Santos has promised to hold a national referendum to approve it.
In September 2012, AJC honored President Santos with the global advocacy organization's Diplomatic Statesman Award for pursuing peace and for strengthening ties among Colombia, the U.S., and Israel.
"This AJC award is an injection of enthusiasm and inspiration to go forward, to keep going," said Santos at a luncheon at AJC headquarters.
"Very few families in Colombia have not suffered from this conflict," said Santos at the AJC event. Referring to the announcement to negotiate with the FARC, he declared, "In search for peace I took a risky decision. After 50 years of war conditions are present to give peace a chance, to try to negotiate. Making war is much easier than making peace."
AJC praised Santos at the time for his "acute vision to pursue policy goals to create a brighter future for his country, conviction to uphold core values of democracy and pluralism, and courage to sit down with enemies in Colombia."
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee