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Nobel Peace Prize 2016 to Juan Manuel Santos

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.

In her announcement, Kaci Kullmann Five, the chairwoman of the committee, pointed out that the war has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. ‘The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war’.

By awarding this year’s Peace Prize to President Juan Manuel Santos, the Norwegian Nobel Committee ‘wishes to encourage all those who are striving to achieve peace, reconciliation and justice in Colombia.’

Prime Minister congratulates President Santos on Peace Prize

‘I would like to congratulate this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.  

‘The prize has been awarded to a leader who has shown great political courage in taking a seat at the negotiating table to seek a peaceful solution to the longest-running conflict in Latin America. The award honours the memory of the many victims and their families. They are the people who have suffered most during this long and terrible conflict, which has dragged on for more than 50 years,’ said the Prime Minister.  

A narrow majority rejected the negotiated agreement in the referendum on 2 October. This shows that there is still work to be done to bring about the peace that the people of Colombia desire and deserve. It is encouraging that the Colombian Government and the FARC are maintaining the ceasefire, and it is vital that they continue to do so.

‘The people of Colombia have not rejected peace. It is crucial to continue to listen to all the different voices as work on the peace process continues. We hope that the award of the Peace Prize will be a support and inspiration in the time ahead,’ said Ms Solberg.

Norway has facilitated the peace process together with Cuba, and has followed the negotiations between the parties closely over the years.

‘We have seen at first hand how much progress the parties have made from their starting point. We hope that it will be possible to find a common path towards lasting peace for Colombia. Norway is ready and willing to continue to support these efforts,’ said Ms Solberg. 

Important to continue the dialogue in Colombia

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende welcomes continued dialogue between various political actors in Colombia following the referendum on the peace agreement. ‘I hope that it will be possible to find a solution to the difficult situation that has arisen. Norway will continue to offer support for the peace process,’ he said.

In Sunday’s referendum, a majority of Colombians rejected the peace agreement that was signed in Cartagena on 26 September. The agreement addresses the root causes of the conflict and contains provisions on the disarmament of the FARC. It prepares the way for broader political participation, better access to land, and stronger efforts to tackle illicit drugs, amongst other issues. The rights of civilians affected by the conflict have been given a central place in the agreement.

‘The civilians who have been suffering want to see the end of a conflict that has lasted for several generations. It is positive that the Colombian Government and the FARC are maintaining the ceasefire, and it is important that they continue to do so,’ said Mr Brende.

The peace talks were formally launched in Oslo in October 2012, and have since been held in Havana. Norway, together with Cuba, has facilitated the negotiations. The armed conflict in Colombia has lasted for more than 50 years, and has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Colombians. More than six million people are internally displaced.

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