Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and opposition leader Alvaro Uribe meet Pope Francis at the Vatican, as the government looks to build consensus for a peace deal with Marxist rebels. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and opposition leader Alvaro Uribe met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday (December 16) as the government looks to build consensus for a peace deal with Marxist rebels. The pope initially met Santos individually in the morning, followed by a separate meeting with Uribe who had traveled overnight from Colombia in order to make the meeting. The two then met the pontiff together in a third meeting. On his third visit to the Vatican, Santos appealed to Francis for support in ending a 52-year war which has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions. "We need your help," said Santos, who signed a modified peace deal in November after a previous pact was rejected in a plebiscite. He gave the pope a gift of a pen made from a machine gun bullet. Francis, an Argentine who has helped broker diplomatic efforts in Cuba and Venezuela, received right-wing Senator and former President Uribe, who has been one of the harshest critics of the new peace deal after meeting Santos. Uribe argues the new deal, which does not include opposition demands that Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels serve traditional jail sentences and are barred from forming political parties, is not tough enough on them. The former allies met Francis together for around 20 minutes in the pope's private study. Santos won this year's Nobel peace prize for his efforts to reach an accord, under which some 7,000 rebels are now heading to special demobilization areas to hand in their weapons. Francis has repeatedly expressed his support for the deal over four years of negotiations.