Security Council visits former Colombia conflict zone, to see peace first-hand

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The United Nation's Security Council arrived at the Zone of Normalization in the Department of Meta. Photo: UN Mission in Colombia

The UN Security Council paid a visit to a team monitoring and verifying the handover of arms as part of Colombia's on-going peace process on Friday.

The 15 ambassadors went to a so-called Normalization Zone at the end of a three-day visit to the country, which concluded a peace deal with rebel FARC fighters last November, ending a half century of conflict.

Matthew Wells has more.

The ambassadors were joined by the head of the UN Mission in Colombia on a visit to one of the areas that used to be a major conflict zone in the Meta region.

The Uruguayan Ambassador and current Council president, Elbio Rosselli, thanked all the staff working in the zone, on the handover of weapons and reintegration of former fighters to civilian life.

"You are the ones who transform dreams into reality," he said, adding that seeing former guerrilla fighters mingling with government personnel gave him confidence that there was no going back for the peace effort.

His words were echoed by United Kingdom Ambassador, Matthew Rycroft.

"All of the parties and everyone in the parties are fully committed to peace. This peace is irreversible. We have heard in detail about some of the challenges of implementation. But what we have seen is a commitment, and a spirit and a confidence between the FARC and the government of Colombia which gives us confidence that this agreement will go from strength to strength."

The FARC-EP leader Iván Márquez, who took part in the visit, gave his "sincere thanks" to the Security Council and said that there was "respect and harmony" within the zone, between his former fighters, police and army personnel.

He congratulated the head of the UN Mission, Jean Arnault, for his efforts.

The mission has a mandate from the Security Council to verify the disarmament of rebel groups and observe a lasting peace, following the signing of the peace agreement.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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