October 19, 2016 / 2:03 AM / 3 years ago

Colombian opposition may meet with FARC rebels about peace deal

Senator Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's former president, attends a debate at the congress in Bogota, Colombia, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Representatives from Colombia’s right-wing opposition could meet with leaders of the FARC rebels to discuss potential changes to a peace accord signed by the guerrillas and the government, opposition leader Alvaro Uribe said on Tuesday.

Hardliner Uribe, an ex-president, current senator and leader of the right-wing Democratic Center party, had previously said his group would not meet with the rebels, who signed a peace deal with the government last month to end 52 years of war.

Colombians rejected the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in a surprise plebiscite result this month. Uribe spearheaded the “No” campaign.

“We think that at this time, in the interest of a national deal, spokespeople from “No” could at some point speak with the FARC,” Uribe told journalists.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who has staked his legacy on a successful deal, has been meeting with opponents in a bid to salvage the accord.

In a televised speech on Tuesday Santos, who won a Nobel Prize for his peace efforts, said talks were advancing and he would continue to hear opposition proposals until Thursday before discussing them with the FARC.

The Colombian conflict has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sandra Maler

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