Ban welcomes joint request by Colombian Government and FARC to set up UN political office

Displaced by Colombia’s armed conflict, this family now lives in Arjona, an impoverished community outside Cartagena on the northern coast. Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN

20 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the joint request from the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) yesterday announcing their decision to request the UN Security Council to establish a political mission in the country to monitor any future ceasefire agreement.

A statement issued today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the communiqué was issued by the two sides from Havana, Cuba, where peace talks have been under way since 2012. According to the statement, the requested UN mission would constitute “the international component of a tripartite mechanism to monitor and verify a future agreement on a bilateral and definitive ceasefire and cessation of hostilities and the laying down of arms.”

“The Secretary-General also welcomes the parties’ request to the members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to contribute international observers to the mission to be established by the United Nations,” continued the statement.

The UN chief congratulated the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP on yet another significant step toward the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict. He reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support their efforts in the search for peace.

The FARC rebels have been in talks with the Government seeking to end a 51-year conflict that has left nearly a quarter of a million victims. Throughout the discussions, which started in Havana in 2012, negotiators have reached agreement on key issues such as the political participation, land rights, illicit drugs and transitional justice.

Addressing the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate this past September, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said “Colombia is on the path to peace,” aiming to bring an end to the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere. He also announced that 23 March would be the deadline for signing a final agreement.

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