Congratulations to President Santos on Receiving the 2016 Nobel Prize for Peace
Secretary of State
I extend my warmest congratulations and that of the entire U.S. Department of State to Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos for his selection as this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. President Santos is being recognized for his tireless effort to negotiate a definitive end to the conflict between his government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. That conflict, which has raged for more than half a century, has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people and driven more than six million from their homes. The United States strongly backs this initiative through our Peace Colombia strategy, which includes support for the recovery of communities ravaged by strife, the clearing of land mines, measures to ensure justice for victims, and efforts to strengthen the rule of law.
In a plebiscite on October 2, the Colombian people failed by a narrow margin to approve the agreement between their government and the FARC. We recognize and respect that decision. President Santos is reaching out to all sectors inside his country, including those who voted no on the agreement, to listen to their views and seek a new national consensus that would enable the peace process to move forward. We continue to believe that most Colombians urgently desire a definitive end to the violence.
The decision by the Nobel Committee to recognize President Santos’s leadership in pursuing a just and lasting peace was the right one and fully in keeping with the spirit and purpose of its prestigious award. I hope this decision will lend new momentum towards a settlement in Colombia that will be broadly acceptable and can be put in place as rapidly as possible.
I congratulate President Santos for earning the Nobel Prize, and encourage him in his ongoing effort to heal the wounds of war and bring his country together around the promise of peace.