BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Friday he was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in the name of all Colombians and particularly the millions of victims of the decades-old armed conflict.
“Colombians, this prize is for you. It’s for the victims, so there won’t be one more death” from the armed conflict, Santos said in a brief statement, accompanied by his wife, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the prize, said in a statement that it fully supported Santos’ efforts to continue the peace process even after Colombians narrowly rejected his administration’s peace deal with FARC guerrillas in a national referendum.
“The fact that a majority of the voters said no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead. The referendum was not a vote for or against peace. What the ‘no’ side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement,” the committee said.
In his speech, Santos said the honor was a tribute to all those who have helped put Colombia on the verge of a lasting peace, mentioning negotiators from the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who held more than four years of talks in Havana and many other people and institutions that have supported the process.
He added that the prize was “a mandate to continue working tirelessly for peace.”
“I’ll dedicate all my efforts to this cause for the rest of my days,” the president said.
“I invite everyone to join our forces, our minds and our hearts in this great national effort so we all win the most important prize: peace in Colombia,” Santos said in closing.