Welcoming the recent peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC-EP), the Security Council this morning approved the deployment of 450 observers to assist the parties in laying down their arms and ending a half century of conflict in the South American nation.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2307 (2016), the 15-member body also approved other elements of the size, operations and mandate of the new United Nations political mission in Colombia, outlined in a series of recommendations by the Secretary-General (document S/2016/729).
In line with the Council’s endorsement of those recommendations, the Mission — which was established in January following Colombia’s request for assistance — will serve as the international component and coordinator of the tripartite monitoring and verification mechanism responsible for monitoring the ceasefire. It will comprise four components, covering observation, coordination and substantive support, field support and security.
Speaking following the adoption, Council members congratulated Colombia on the Peace Agreement and welcomed progress towards establishing the United Nations mission. They also hailed the country’s proactive approach in seeking United Nations assistance, calling it a “success story” and a positive example of the relationship between the Council and a country it worked to assist.
“Colombia is turning a new page in its history,” said the representative of Egypt, stressing that today’s resolution moved the South American country’s peace process towards a new stage with the full support of the Organization. The unanimous adoption of the text demonstrated the Council’s support and commitment to the peace process, he said, adding that his country had long supported those efforts.
Murray McCully, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand and Council President for September, expressed hope that the activities of the United Nations mission would give confidence to all parties that key elements of the Agreement were being faithfully and effectively implemented. It was rare for a country to voluntarily approach the Council seeking its help, he added, pointing to Colombia’s decision to do so as an example of constructive collaboration.
Venezuela’s representative, recalling that millions of people — including those in his country — had been affected by Colombia’s five decades of war, said the Agreement proved both parties’ commitment to lasting peace. “We must build the momentum for peace,” he said, adding that Venezuela would be willing to send observers to join the United Nations force in Colombia.
“Stakes for the success of the Mission are high,” said the representative of the United States, noting that the Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC marked progress towards ending the longest running conflict in the Americas. The participation of the United Nations in the Agreement’s monitoring and verification mechanism would be key, she added.
Thanking the Council on behalf of her people, Colombia’s representative said the Agreement’s implementation phase would be an inclusive process that ensured the protection of all human rights. “Colombians will have the opportunity to learn about the war only from the history books,” she said, noting that there had been no victims since the Agreement’s entry into force.
Also participating were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, China, France, Senegal, Angola, Malaysia, Japan, Spain, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:59 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2307 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Welcoming the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Long Lasting Peace reached between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC-EP) on 24 August 2016 and commending the determination of the parties in reaching this historic agreement to end over 50 years of conflict,
“Further welcoming the agreements reached between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP on 23 June 2016, including the Agreement on the Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Laying down of Arms which provides for a tripartite monitoring and verification mechanism (MVM),
“Recalling resolution 2261 (2016) which established a political mission (the Mission) to participate for a period of 12 months as the international component and coordinator of the MVM,
“Looking forward to the forthcoming conclusion of a Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) between the United Nations and the Government of Colombia,
“Having considered the Secretary-General’s report of 19 August 2016 to the President of the Security Council (S/2016/729),
“1. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s report S/2016/729 and approves the recommendations therein regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the Mission including the recommendations in paragraph 36;
“2. Recognizes the need for expeditious deployment of the tripartite MVM, and authorizes the Mission to share equally with the Government of Colombia the support required for preparation and facilities management of the Transitional Local Zones for Normalisation and the Transitional Local Points for Normalisation during the 12-month period authorized by resolution 2261 (2016);
“3. Welcomes contributions of unarmed observers already presented by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Member States and other Member States, and looks forward to further contributions.”
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said the resolution just adopted marked a historic agreement which brought decades of fighting in Colombia to an end. Just this past weekend, more Colombian children had been released into a new life without fear, with both parties showing the courage to lay aside their weapons. Noting that Colombia’s decision to put itself on the Council’s agenda had been an unprecedented step, he said the resolution would allow the body to ensure that the recent agreement led to sustainable peace. In October, the people of Colombia would have the opportunity to choose between a lasting peace or a return to suffering and conflict.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), noting that the resolution would help strengthen and consolidate Colombia’s path to peace, expressed his delegation’s renewed hope for and commitment to that State. Importantly, the peace process had been led by Colombia itself, he said, adding that it had set an example for the international community.
MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that after a long time, the Government of Colombia and FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo/Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army) had reached the final agreement. Welcoming the efforts made towards ending the longest running conflict in the Americas, she noted that it had displaced thousands of people. The United States had been Colombia’s partner in waging peace, she said, emphasizing that the resolution ensured the United Nations’ readiness to implementing peace in the country. “Stakes for the success of the Mission is high,” she said, adding that the participation of the United Nations in the monitoring and verification mechanism of the Agreement on the ceasefire was key.
RAFAEL RAMÍREZ (Venezuela) said that, after 50 years, both the Government of Colombia and FARC had put an end to the vicious conflict. The Agreement proved both parties’ commitment to the lasting peace. Because of the war, millions of people had been affected, he said, emphasizing the importance of building a society of peace. Venezuela too had suffered from the war as the country shared a border with Colombia. To bring peace to the region, Venezuela and former President Hugo Chávez had participated in the negotiation process with an aim to bringing parties together. “We must build the momentum for peace”, he said, stressing that his country would be willing to send at least 100 Venezuelan observers to join the United Nations Mission in Colombia.
MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand and Council President for September, speaking in his national capacity, said the Agreement represented a significant milestone that offered the promise of a future of security and prosperity for all Colombians. The United Nations would play a crucial role in supporting the effective implementation of Colombia’s Peace Agreement, including through the resolution endorsing the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a special political mission. Expressing hope that the activities of the Mission would give confidence to all sides that key elements of the Agreement were being faithfully and effectively implemented, he said it was rare for a country to voluntarily approach the Council seeking its help. Colombia’s actions in doing so, and the Council’s responsiveness to its requests, swiftly and with due respect to the specific needs of the situation, had provided an example of how constructive the relationship could be between the body and the countries it sought to assist. New Zealand remained committed to supporting Colombia’s peace efforts, and had pledged to assist it in its goal to become landmine-free by 2021.
LIU JIEYI (China) said the signing of the Agreement would provide durable peace and promote stability throughout the region. The Council’s unanimous adoption of the resolution would further promote the peace process, he said, expressing his hope that the body would respect Colombia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and cooperate closely with the Government in the early deployment of the Mission and the provision of support to help smoothly conclude the peace process.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), describing the resolution as a historic step towards achieving peace in Colombia, said it established the Mission’s mandate. His country welcomed the planning and preparation process, stressing that the United Nations had taken all necessary steps. Commending efforts in implementing the Agreement, he noted that United Nations was able to meet the expectations for its part. Describing the Agreement as one of the crucial stones in building peace in the country, he stressed that it was now up to the Colombians to ensure that the peace process would be a success.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said that both parties had signed a historic agreement, which aimed at bringing an end to the 50-year-long conflict. As a supporter of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, Senegal had voted in favour of the text, which endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations. The United Nations Mission in Colombia would play an important role, contributing to the efforts to ensure lasting peace in the country.
JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola) urged the parties to the Peace Agreement to work towards its implementation, also expressing his support for the establishment of the United Nations special political Mission in the country. In that regard, he called on the international community to back the Mission by providing the resources necessary for its work.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said the adoption of the resolution moved Colombia’s peace process towards a new stage with the full support of the United Nations. “Colombia is turning a new page in its history,” he said, adding that the Council’s unanimous adoption of the resolution demonstrated its support and commitment. Egypt had cosponsored the text as it had always supported Colombia’s efforts to establish peace.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) congratulated the Government of Colombia for closing the chapter of armed conflict that had lasted 50 years. Acknowledging the unwavering support of the international community, he stressed that the Government must ensure the reintegration of former combatants. Emphasizing the importance of coordination in implementing the peace process, he said that children affected by the conflict must receive the support they needed.
YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan), while welcoming that the Government of Colombia and FARC had reached an agreement, stressed that the implementation phase would be important. “People of Colombia must be the true owners of the Agreement,” he said, noting that the Mission would play a key role in ensuring success of the process. He expressed hope that it would contribute to the equitable and sustainable development of Colombia, and successful rehabilitation of victims and former combatants.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), recalling that Colombia had requested support from the Council before its peace process had been concluded, stressed that “the darkest hour is just before the storm”. Colombians had made history with their resolve and bravery, and today the Council had unanimously adopted a resolution clarifying some aspects of the new mission’s mandate. Spain was pleased to be providing the Mission with 22 observers, 25 per cent of whom were women. Given the specific environment in which the Mission would carry out its work, it was critical to give due attention to such elements as mine clearance and restitution for victims.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said the United Nations should continue to play a proactive role in supporting the parties in Colombia as they advanced in implementing the provisions of the Peace Agreement, as well as in ensuring the effective functioning of the tripartite Monitoring and Verification Mechanism. The Colombian experience of engaging the United Nations as the international component of the tripartite mechanism would be a success story in bringing stability to the region.
PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said the Agreement was crucial for ensuring lasting peace in Colombia. Congratulating both parties for finding a compromised solution, he said that it proved the peaceful settlement of the dispute. For its part, the Russian Federation would continue to provide assistance to the Government of Colombia to build on the momentum.
MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia), welcoming the unanimous decision, said it showed the commitment of member States to the Colombian peace process. Expressing gratitude on behalf of her people, she acknowledged the contribution of Norway, Cuba, Venezuela and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The negotiations had started four years ago, she continued, noting that the implementation phase would be an inclusive process while ensuring the protection of all human rights. There had been no victim since the entry into force, she said, drawing attention to the recent developments. “Colombians will have the opportunity to learn about the war only from the history books,” she added.