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Colombia’s congress approves revised deal with FARC

COLOMBIA’S Congress has approved a revised peace deal with the FARC rebel group, paving the way to end a conflict that has lasted more than 50 years.

The lower house voted 130-0 on Wednesday to approve the text adopted a day earlier by the Senate.

President Juan Manuel Santos said the vote provided “landmark backing” for a deal he personally pushed for. Santos, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, shepherded the revised deal through Congress after voters shocked the world by rejecting an earlier version in a referendum last month.

The government’s chief peace negotiator with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, had urged lawmakers to ratify this deal, warning the army’s ceasefire with the leftist guerrillas was “fragile”.

The first agreement was rejected in a referendum in October, with majority of voters saying they felt it was too lenient toward the rebels, who have battled the government for 52 years.

Al Jazeera, reporting from Medellin, said the approval was a significant step towards peace in the country, but added that the deal still faced hurdles.

“A few more obstacles remain,” he said, adding the constitutional court still needed to rule on a mechanism allowing Congress to pass implementing regulations, including an amnesty law.