2016 Nobel Peace Prize is small pat on back to Norway, too

Prize awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recognizes Norway's role in peace talks

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 file photo Cuba's President Raul Castro, center, smiles as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and Commander the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, Timoleon Jimenez, known as "Timochenko",  shake hands, in Havana, Cuba. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won Nobel Peace Prize it was announced on Friday Oct. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 file photo Cuba's President Raul Castro, center, smiles as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and Commander the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, Timoleon Jimenez, known as "Timochenko", shake hands, in Havana, Cuba. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won Nobel Peace Prize it was announced on Friday Oct. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

OSLO, Norway (AP) – The Latest on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (all times local):

12:15 a.m. – The Nobel Peace Prize awarded by the all-Norwegian committee is in part a self-recognition of that country’s pivotal role in the Colombian peace talks.

Norway along with Cuba has been a sponsor of the peace process since the outset. The public phase of talks began in Oslo in 2012 and the Norwegian government’s representative to the talks, Dag Nylander, has become a minor celebrity among Colombians who’ve followed every announcement from Havana on TV.

Norway’s’ role as a peace facilitator around the world isn’t new. It helped broker the historic Oslo accord between the Palestinians and Israelis in 1993 and is currently facilitating talks bringing an end to a half-century-old communist insurgency in the Philippines.

“To succeed in being a facilitator you have to be a very honest broker and you can’t take sides,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende told The Associated Press in an interview last month while attending the peace deal’s signing ceremony. “You have to try to find common ground and be very, very patient.”

“It has been a bumpy road, there have been setbacks for sure,” he said. “For us we had to believe that a deal was possible and we had to believe it was a question of time.”

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11:50 a.m. – Colombians are notorious among Latin Americans as being early risers, but the decision to award President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace prize even caught them sleeping.

Early morning radio programs are abuzz with the news but so far there’s been no reaction from President Santos.

Many Colombians thought that Santos was a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace prize after he signed a peace accord with the FARC on Sept. 26 in front of many world leaders and the U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon. But they assumed his chances faded after the deal fell apart in a referendum a week later.

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11:40 a.m. – The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos comes just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected a peace deal that Santos helped bring about.

The award conspicuously left out Santos’ counterpart, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Santos and Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, signed the peace deal last month, ending a half-century of hostilities, only to see a major setback in the shock vote against the agreement in a referendum six days later.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that rejection doesn’t mean the peace process is dead.

“The referendum was not a vote for or against peace,” it said. “What the ‘No’ side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it believes that Santos, “despite the ‘No’ majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution.”

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11:30 a.m. – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Juan Manuel Santos, 65, is an unlikely peacemaker. The Harvard-educated scion of one of Colombia’s wealthiest families, as defense minister a decade ago he was responsible for some of the FARC rebels’ biggest military setbacks, including a 2008 cross-border raid into Ecuador that took out a top rebel commander and the stealth rescue of three Americans held captive for more than five years.

Under the peace deal he negotiated, rebels who turn over their weapons and confess to war crimes will be spared time in jail and the FARC will be reserved 10 seats in congress through 2026 to smooth their transition into a political movement.

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11 a.m. – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his efforts to end a civil war that killed more than 200,000 Colombians.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said 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.

It did not cite his counterpart in peace negotiations, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Santos and Londono signed a peace deal last month ending a half-century of hostilities only to see their efforts collapse following a shock vote against the agreement in a referendum six days later.

 

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