Head of UN Mission in Colombia says focus now on reintegration

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President Juan Manuel Santos; Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jean Arnault; and head of the FARC-EP Secretariat Timoleon Jimenez at a ceremony for the final laying down of weapons in Colombia. Photo: UN Mission in Colombia

The completion of the laying down of individual weapons by the Colombian rebel group FARC has created new opportunities in the country, the UN Security Council heard on Friday.

The head of the UN Mission in Colombia briefed ambassadors on latest developments in the country's peace process and next steps.

The government and FARC signed a peace deal last November, ending more than 50 years of fighting.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Security Council established the UN Mission to monitor and verify the laying down of arms in Colombia.

Mission chief Jean Arnault took part in the "Farewell to Arms, Farewell to War" ceremony marking the final surrender of weapons held just days prior to his briefing.

He said it has created new opportunities and also highlights the urgency of moving forward on implementing the peace agenda

The most urgent challenge is reintegrating some 10,000 FARC combatants into society.

Other government priorities include establishing rule of law in areas most affected by the conflict, as well as mobilizing the delivery of goods and services to rural areas that previously were inaccessible.

"We are honoured by the request from the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP to establish a second verification mission focused on reintegration and wider security guarantees, and to begin as soon as possible. As indicated above, there lie some of the most immediate and pressing challenges for the consolidation of peace."

Mr Arnault told ambassadors that their continued support will be invaluable as the peace process enters a new phase.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'16"

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