7997th Security Council Meeting: UN Mission in Colombia

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10-Jul-2017 00:49:09
Security Council authorizes creation of United Nations verification mission in Colombia, unanimously adopting resolution 2366 (2017), at 7997th meeting.

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The Security Council today authorized the creation of a United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia to oversee the next phase of the 2016 peace agreement that ended half a century of fighting between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).

Unanimously adopting resolution 2366 (2017), the Council decided that the new Mission would verify implementation of sections 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Agreement, signed in November 2016, and monitor the FARC-EP’s political, economic and social reincorporation. It would also verify implementation of personal and collective security guarantees, and comprehensive programmes on security and protection.

Headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Mission would begin its work on 26 September 2017, immediately after the current United Nations Mission in Colombia, established on 27 January 2016 to monitor the ceasefire and laying down of arms, completed its mandate. It would also work closely with other verification bodies established by the Final Agreement.

The Council, through the text, requested the Secretary-General to initiate preparations now and to present recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the Verification Mission within 45 days.

In the ensuing dialogue, delegates hailed the “historic” laying down and return of arms by the FARC-EP to the United Nations for registration and storage. The ceremony, on 27 June, marked an “important milestone” which, alongside the ceasefire, had fortified confidence for achieving peace, several said.

Colombia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said the FARC-EP’s handover of individual weapons had been guaranteed by the first United Nations special mission. They had yet to finish turning over weapons hidden in caches, which should take another two months. “Little by little people begin to see the benefits of peace and are willing to give it a chance,” she said.

Nonetheless, she said, the benefits were already being felt in the countryside and rural areas, where millions of Colombians had suffered the effects of conflict much more than those living in cities. Colombia’s peace and reconciliation process was the first in the world where victims had participated in negotiations. The Revolutionary Armed Forces had also contributed their knowledge and vision to the entire Agreement.

“We are privileged to have played a role in support of this momentous period,” the United Kingdom’s representative said, stressing that sustainable peace would depend on FARC-EP’s successful incorporation into civilian life. As penholder, the United Kingdom had consulted with the parties and had confidence that “every last comma” of the peace agreement would be implemented.

For the next phase, Uruguay’s representative said, there must be a focus on parallel processes. There were benefits of having various actions aimed towards the same goal and he cited the resolution and the multi-donor fund for post-conflict in Colombia in that regard. He also welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to declare Colombia eligible to receive funds from the Peacebuilding Fund.

At the same time, several speakers drew attention to the long and arduous road ahead, which would include implementation of the amnesty law, Ethiopia’s delegate recalled. Those encouraging hate speech and showing disregard for reconciliation also spoke to the difficulties, Bolivia’s representative said.

Yet, peace was a process irreversible in this case, thanks to the strong resolve of President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC-EP, Italy’s delegate said. He commended Colombia for its efforts to deliver security and actions to curb organized crime. He also praised the Council for its unified, timely and context-specific action as an example of flexibility and respect for ownership of the process by the parties.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, France, Japan, United States, Sweden, Egypt, Ukraine, Senegal and China.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:55 a.m.
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