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Colombian peace deal with left-wing rebels narrowly rejected at ballot box

FARC guerrillas have been involved in a conflict with Colombian armed forces for over half-a-century

A peace deal between the Colombian government and armed rebels involved in a decades-long conflict has been narrowly rejected by voters.

A referendum has seen those backing the deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – known as FARC – turn out at 49.8 percent, while those against it stood at 50.2 percent.

Out of 13 million votes, the difference in the result is less than 59,000 votes, and as of Monday morning, the Colombian government has refused to accept defeat.

FARC leaders have indicated a willingness to continue to work towards peace following the referendum, while Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said a ceasefire agreement between he two sides will remain in place while a way forward is discussed.

Mr Santos had claimed the deal – which was signed last week after four years of negotiations – was the best option for bringing to an end the conflict which has caused the deaths of over half-a-million people in over 50 years.

"I won't give up. I'll continue search for peace until the last moment of my mandate,” the president said.

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