Welcoming the signing today of the new peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the hope that Colombians will "come together at this time to move the peace process forward."
"[The Secretary-General] commends the parties for their determination to bring this long-standing conflict to an end. He congratulates all who participated constructively in the dialogue that led to the new agreement," said a statement issued this evening by a UN spokesperson, which noted that the new deal had been reached following broad consultations with political and social sectors.
Voters rejected the previous accord through a referendum in early October.
The Secretary-General believes it is essential to move now to implementation, the statement continued, noting that the violent incidents that have taken place recently in conflict-affected areas underscore the relevance of many of the commitments contained in the agreement and the urgency of putting them into effect.
Expressing hopes that Colombians will come together at this time to move the peace process forward, Mr. Ban, through the statement, reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to provide all necessary support, both through the United Nations Mission in Colombia and through the relevant UN agencies, funds and programmes.
In early October, Colombian voters narrowly rejected the historic peace accord between the Government and the FARC-EP, the main opposition group, meant to end the Western Hemisphere's longest running conflict. That deal was the culmination of four years of talks hosted in Havana, Cuba, between the two sides, and which led to a cessation of hostilities and agreements on key issues such as political participation, land rights, illicit drugs and victims' rights and transitional justice.
The two sides vowed to press ahead on a deal, and on 1 November, the UN Security Council sent a letter to the Secretary General authorizing the UN Mission in Colombia to verify the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, following a request from the Government and FARC-EP.
Other functions include organizing operational aspects of the joint ceasefire Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, formed by the Government of Colombia, FARC-EP and coordinated by the UN Mission.
It also entails visiting FARC-EP camps and Public Force units to ensure compliance with the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. The UN Mission will also liaise with local populations to ensure that their rights are being respected.