White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the failure of Colombia's peace referendum was a surprise, but represents the ''will of the...people''. He says the U.S. remains hopeful for a negotiated settlement. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday (October 3) that the U.S. was surprised by the failure of a peace referendum in Colombia, but said the vote represented the "will of the Colombian people." He told reporters at the daily briefing that "the good news is" that the government and the rebels seem determined to reach a negotiated settlement that will bring a peaceful end to the decades-long insurgency by FARC guerrillas. Voters rejected the hard-negotiated deal Bogota hammered out with the rebels as too lenient, in a shock referendum result on Sunday that plunged the nation into uncertainty. Any renegotiated peace accord now seems to depend on whether the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) could accept some tougher sanctions against them. "No" voters, who narrowly won Sunday's plebiscite, want assurances the rebels will hand in cash from drugs, spend time in jail, and earn their political future at the ballot box rather than get guaranteed unelected seats in Congress. Both President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londono, the top FARC commander better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, put a brave face on the referendum setback after their teams had negotiated for four years in Havana. They vowed to maintain a ceasefire and keep working together, even though that could now be another lengthy and complicated process.