As the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia prepares to begin its activities, its chief expressed the hope today that, with the support of the Security Council, the new operation should be able to strengthen the country’s confidence for a stable peace.
“Over the past months, the peace process between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) has slowly but steadily tipped the scales in favour of hope,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Colombia, Jean Arnault, in his briefing to the Security Council.
He also told the 15-member Security Council that the formal transformation of the FARC-EP into a political party highlighted the momentous developments that have taken place over the past year in Colombia.
In his briefing, the UN envoy also informed the Council of the establishment at all levels – local, regional and national – of transitional teams with civilian personnel and observers, who began verification related to the new mission’s mandate.
“Reconnaissance visits are taking place to all prospective team sites and sub-offices, in particular with a view to identifying possible areas of co-location with the UN Country Team,” he added, noting also the other logistical and administrative tasks underway.
Recalling the recent visit by Pope Francis to the country and his strong message in favour of reconciliation, forgiveness and confidence in the future, Mr. Arnault said:
“We trust that the presence of the UN Mission, the work of the UN system, and the support of the Security Council can and should shore up further the confidence of the Colombian society in the stable peace to which its citizens so ardently aspire.”
Mr. Arnault reported that the temporary ceasefire agreed between the Government and the National Liberation Army (ENL) should be accompanied by a series of measures to improve the humanitarian situation of the communities in conflict-affected areas. The agreement also provides that the UN would assist with the verification of the commitments made.
“I met with both heads of delegations who have confirmed their interest in the UN involvement, and members of the Mission have engaged with the Technical Commission on the Ceasefire,” he said.
In July, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2366 to establish, at the request of the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, the UN mission to verify the former combatants’ political, economic and social reintegration. The new mission will begin its activities on 26 September.