Colombian leader to receive Nobel Peace Prize

Bogota: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos travelled to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, together with representatives of the thousands of victims of the country’s half-century conflict, the media reported on Friday.

Santos on Thursday invited “some 40 people, many of them close friends and relatives, but also (peace) negotiators and about 10 representatives of the victims of the conflict”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all Colombians, but especially the victims of the conflict,” Santos said.

Among those accompanying the President were Pastora Mira Garcia, a community activist who lost much of her family and still helped both the victims and those fighting the civil war, Leiner Palacios, a survivor of massacre, Fabiola Perdomo, a widow of a deputy who was kidnapped and killed by the rebels, and Ingrid Betancourt, a former presidential candidate and high-profile kidnapped victim.

According to the presidency, besides her personal pains, “Mira’s struggle for others, her social activism, her infinite capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation (to the point of providing shelter and first aid to the attacker of one of her relatives)… make her stand out among those invited to the Nobel” ceremony.

Santos was awarded the Nobel prize for his role in the peace process to end the decades long civil war in Colombia.

He and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Rodrigo Londono, signed a revised peace agreement in November, in efforts to end the country’s half-century conflict, which has left 220,000 people dead, and millions of people homeless.