Political Will, International Support Now Crucial, Says Permanent Representative
The Security Council today approved the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2377 (2017), the Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2017/745), which states that the Mission would begin its activities on 26 September.
The Verification Mission is expected to oversee the next phase of the 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). The Council established the Verification Mission by unanimously adopting resolution 2366 (2017) as a successor to the United Nations Mission in Colombia.
Speaking after today’s action, many delegations hailed the “historic and remarkable” laying down of arms in Colombia while also noting the many challenges ahead, including reintegrating former fighters and rebuilding infrastructure.
Matthew Rycroft (United Kingdom) said it was encouraging that the parties had endorsed the work of the United Nations by inviting the Organization to monitor progress on the ground. The United Kingdom would remain fully committed to assisting Colombia, he said, while commending the work of the United Nations verification team on the ground.
Michele J. Sison (United States) said Colombia was indeed an example for the region and for the world. However, serious threats to peace persisted due to lack of infrastructure and insecurity. The United States would remain focused on creating the conditions for peace to prosper, she said, adding that her delegation would partner with the Council in supporting the ceasefire through the United Nations peace verification team.
Elbio Roselli (Uruguay) said that while real progress had already been made through extraordinary steps, the most difficult stage lay ahead. The Council would remain committed to Colombia, he added, while commending the United Nations team on the ground.
Petr V. Iliichev (Russian Federation) noted that the Mission’s mandate had been elaborated in close consultation with the Colombian side. Emphasizing the importance of national ownership, he said peace had only been achieved due to the political will demonstrated by the Colombians. Political solutions were the only guarantee for the effective and lasting settlement of disputes, he noted, stressing that the United Nations must help the parties to enshrine the peace process. In that context, it was important to prevent the emergence of security vacuums.
Yasuhisa Kawamura (Japan) said that the initial United Nations Mission in Colombia had been a model of success built upon strong commitment to the peace agreement on the part of the Government and FARC. Japan would continue to support parities in accord’s implementation while closely following the Mission’s work.
Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia) commended the men and women who had acted as observers within the mechanism deployed in 2016, saying they had demonstrated “exemplary efforts”. However, it was still necessary to transform the living conditions of the most vulnerable and to close the gaps between urban and rural areas, he emphasized.
Fodé Seck (Senegal) said it was evident that the Colombian Government and FARC had made considerable progress on disarmament, and the new phase would allow the parties to take the necessary steps for a political and economic solution to the conflict. Colombia’s example was a model for the world, particularly for countries in Africa, he stressed.
María Emma Mejía Vélez (Colombia) said that while her country faced colossal challenges, progress on the ground had been extraordinary. She welcomed the ceasefire, adding that the country now was in a crucial period requiring great political will and international support. She also welcomed the bilateral ceasefire announced recently between the Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), a development that could open the door for the “infinite possibility” of a reconciled nation.
The meeting began at 10:19 a.m. and ended at 10:42 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2377 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Welcoming the major accomplishments achieved, with the support of the United Nations Mission in Colombia, in the laying down of arms process, as called for in the ‘Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace’ (the Final Agreement) (document S/2017/272) between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), signed in Bogotá, Colombia, on 24 November 2016, and adopted by the Colombian Congress on 30 November 2016,
“Recalling resolution 2366 (2017) which established a second political mission in Colombia (the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia) to verify implementation by the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP of sections 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Agreement as called for in section 6.3.3 of the Final Agreement,
“Welcoming the announcement by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) of 4 September 2017 that they will enter into a temporary bilateral ceasefire from 1 October 2017 until 12 January 2018,
“Having considered the Secretary-General’s report of 30 August 2017 to the Security Council (document S/2017/745),
“1. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s report S/2017/745 and approves the recommendations therein regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.”