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Czech political analysts hail Nobel Peace Prize for Santos

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Prague, Oct 7 (CTK) – Czech political analysts hailed Saturday the Nobel Peace Prize for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos who, they said, scored an extraordinary political success with negotiating a peace agreement with the FARC guerilla movement, but added it will not be important for further negotiations.
They justified their opinion by the referendum in which the Colombians tightly rejected the agreement.
“The agreement has been an unbelievable success. Santos forced the FARC organisation to make concessions which they would never accept five, ten years ago. He deserves the Nobel Prize for having made this Marxist extremist organisation accept capitalism, democracy and the rule of law,” political analyst Petr Bohacek, from the International Affairs Association, told CTK.
He said the prize confirms how politically arduous the peace process in Colombia is and pointed to that Santos had to constantly defend the negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“The success rests in that Santos will maintain his political power ahead of his rival Alvaro Uribe in elections,” Bohacek said.
“President Santos was defence minister in the previous government. He defended a hard line, and now he has been capable of adjusting is line. He has turned into a person who is open to peace negotiations,” political scientist Jan Nemec, from the University of Economics in Prague, said.
He said the Nobel Committee probably wanted to reward Santos for his ability to assess the chances of a military solution and for his effort to accept the peaceful one.
Nemec said by not awarding the FARC chief commander, Timoleon Jimenez, dubbed Timoshenko, who signed the agreement for FARC, the committee did not want to repeat the situation of 1994, when one of those to whom the prize went was Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
“The Nobel committee then came under strong criticism for awarding Yasser Arafat who was responsible for many dead. FARC is still listed as a terrorist organisation, which probably led the Nobel Committee to moderation,” Nemec said.
However, he said the Nobel Prize may not give an impulse to further peace negotiations after the referendum failure, or to a repeated voting.
“Low turnout was probably the biggest problem of the referendum,” Nemec said.
Though Bohacek does not suppose the prize for Santos will directly influence the negotiations between the government and FARC, he said he is convinced that peace will eventually be attained.
“It is to be seen whether the way to it will be more complicated, longer, less stable, with the government trying to push through more concessions by FARC, or whether the way will be shorter with merely cosmetic adjustments made to the existing agreement so that the opposition have the feeling that it has attained something,” Bohacek said.

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