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BRIEF

Santos, Uribe Clash Over Colombia Conflict

COLOMBIA / 5 MAY 2011 BY VANESSA PAZ LECOMPTE EN

President Juan Manuel Santos stated that Colombia has been involved in an internal armed conflict for a long time, reports El Colombiano. This declaration led the president into a clash with his predecessor Alvaro Uribe, who describes the situation as a fight against terrorism.

Santos' statement is part of the debate around the proposed Victims Law (Ley de victimas). His government is seeking to add an article to stop victims of common crime claiming reparations through the law, which is intended to compensate victims of the political conflict.

Uribe responded to Santos by saying that the law should not recognize drug dealing terrorists as belligerents, and pointed out that his government demobilized more than 50,000 members of terrorist groups without the need to declare an armed conflict.

Analyst Rafael Nieto Loaiza told the newspaper that the main impact of recognizing the conflict would be that the armed forces would be judged under international humanitarian law. He said it would not mean the guerrillas would be entitled to international recognition.

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