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EU suspends Colombia fund after shock vote

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The European Union announced Wednesday it would suspend a development fund earmarked for Colombia, following a referendum in which voters rejected a peace deal with the Farc rebel group.

[STRASBOURG] The European Union announced Wednesday it would suspend a development fund earmarked for Colombia, following a referendum in which voters rejected a peace deal with the Farc rebel group.

The bloc had set aside roughly 600 million euros to help Bogota uphold a historic peace accord that sought to end half a century of conflict with the Marxist guerrillas.

"Obviously in the current situation we cannot continue with the launch of this fund," minister Ivan Korcok of Slovakia, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told the European Parliament.

But he insisted that "EU engagement in the Colombian peace process will carry on," adding that 11 countries had committed to the proposed fund.

The bloc would not row back on its decision to suspend the FARC for six months from its terror list, which it has been on since 2002, Mr Korcok said.

"After the referendum, the Farc did not denounce the peace accord they had signed. In fact they confirmed their desire to continue to search for a peaceful solution," he said.

Colombian voters said "No" to the deal - the product of nearly four years of talks - in a shock weekend result.

AFP