Controversy as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wins Nobel Peace Prize 2016


Controversy surrounded the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos just days after voters rejected a historic peace deal.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Santos on Friday, saying it shows the country has come "too far to turn back now."

The decision comes "at a critical moment when this special acknowledgement provides needed hope and encouragement to the Colombian people," the United Nations secretary general said about Santos's efforts to bring the country's half-century-long civil war with the FARC rebels to an end, despite voters' rejection of an historic peace deal.

Colombia's FARC rebels should have shared the Nobel peace prize awarded to President Santos on Friday for his efforts to end Latin America's longest war, one of the guerrilla group's former hostages said. 

Ingrid Betancourt, now 54, spent six years in the jungle after being abducted by FARC while campaigning in Colombia's 2002 presidential election. 

The charismatic Franco-Colombian former politician told France's iTele broadcaster she was "very, very happy" that the prize went to Santos, saying it showed "there was no turning back from peace". 

Asked if she thought FARC should also have been honoured by the Nobel committee an emotional Betancourt said haltingly: "Yes... it's very hard for me to say yes... but I think so." 

After five decades of conflict, Santos last month signed an historic peace deal with FARC chief Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez, but in a shock development on Sunday it was narrowly rejected in a referendum, leaving the peace process hanging in the balance.

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