Brende: I am very disappointed with the Colombian referendum results

Børge BrendeBørge Brende ( Conservative Party ).

Foreign Minister Børge Brende says he is surprised that the no side was victorious in the referendum in Colombia. He is still positive that the parties will continue peace talks.

– I am very disappointed, and the result shows a very polarized and split Colombia. I must also admit that the result is surprising, because it is contrary to what the opinion polls showed ahead of the referendum, says Brende to news agency NTB.

Beforehand, it was expected that an overwhelming majority would vote yes to the peace agreement, which would put an end to the 52-year long civil war in the country.

With a vote of of 50.2 percent saying no to the agreement in the referendum, the agreement was rejected. 49.8 percent voted yes, and fewer than 54,000 votes out of a total of 13 million separated the two sides.

– The reality is that it is a small number separating the two sides. It means that now there is a very unclear situation, said Brende.

The Foreign Minister believes it is positive that all parties to the conflict have said they want to negotiate on to finding a new solution.

Colombia’s foreign minister has requested that Norwegian envoys  join them in Havana on Monday to discuss alternatives with the FARC guerrillas.

– We have communicated to both parties that we will place ourselves at their disposal and are available to find solutions for the long term. Both parties must give concessions, but it’s going to be very demanding, says Brende.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today