Welcoming “remarkable achievements” in Colombia following agreements to end long-term civil strife, the Security Council decided this afternoon that the United Nations Verification Mission there would expand its work to include monitoring a ceasefire recently signed by the Government and the group known as Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN).
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2381 (2017), the Council approved the Secretary-General’s recommendations to increase the Mission’s staffing by no more than 70 international observers and utilize existing resources to take on the new responsibilities, authorized until 9 January 2018, without affecting tasks previously mandated under resolution 2366 (2017).
Through the text, the Council determined that the Mission would monitor compliance with the ceasefire at the national, regional and local level, would endeavour to prevent incidents through coordination between the parties and resolution of disagreements, would enable a timely response by the parties to incidents that did occur and would verify and report publicly and to the parties on ceasefire compliance.
In a separate statement read out this afternoon by François Delattre of France, which holds the October presidency, the Council marked the 25 September 2017 completion of the 12-month mandate of the United Nations Mission in Colombia — the predecessor of the Verification Mission — by welcoming progress in the country following the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict reached between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC-EP).
Such progress included the transformation of the FARC-EP into a political party, bringing over five decades of conflict to a close, the Council noted, paying tribute to the political will of the parties and the work of the Mission in achieving those milestones. It also expressed gratitude to the observer-contributing countries and acknowledged the guarantors of the peace process, Cuba and Norway, as well as the two accompanying countries, Chile and Venezuela.
At the same time, the Council flagged important work still ahead to implement the specific security, political and socioeconomic provisions of the Final Peace Agreement. It reaffirmed the need for both parties to fulfil their commitments to achieve a lasting peace.
Following adoption of the draft resolution authorizing monitoring of the ceasefire with the ELN, Council members welcomed progress in Colombia and praised the Council’s swift consensus adoption that incorporated the recent ceasefire into the Verification Mission’s work. They commended those involved in United Nations operations in Colombia, as well as the parties on their commitment to peace, while stressing the need to fulfil commitments. The United Kingdom’s representative added a call to the international community to do all it could to support the Government and the ELN in meeting the challenges ahead.
Sweden’s representative stressed that in order for the verification mandate to be realistic and achievable, the right resources must be allocated so that the new tasks did not impinge on previously mandated ones. Uruguay’s representative, in addition, expressed the continuing strong commitment of all Council members to the Colombian peace process. The Russia Federation’s representative expressed the hope that the Government and the ELN would act in good faith and fulfil their commitments, positive signs of which no doubt led to the quick Council action.
Also taking the floor, China’s representative evinced expectations of good communication between the United Nations and the Colombian Government and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, while the representative of the United States said that with this vote her country showed it was proud to stand with Colombia as it worked for a lasting peace.
In his remarks, Italy’s representative welcomed the role of the Catholic Church in the ceasefire stressing that the benefits of the peace had to be extended to all Colombians and allow their social development. Bolivia’s representative welcomed the resolution of the last armed conflict in its region. Ukraine’s representative said that the lessons learned in Colombia should be applied to other conflicts in the world.
The representative of France, Council President, who spoke in his national capacity, recounted the process that allowed a quick answer to the request of the parties in the form of today’s resolution. He called on the parties to respect all their agreements, including those not involving the United Nations. The situation showed that the will of all parties and a strong role of the United Nations could indeed resolve conflicts.
Finally, Colombia’s representative thanked the Council for the action, which he called a vote of confidence in his country’s progress. It was recognition of a historic process and a tribute to the Government, the other parties and the Colombian people, he said. The signing of the bilateral ceasefire was a sign of good things to come, and the rapid response of the Council was crucial for its success. He hoped to come back soon with a conclusive, signed peace process between the Government and the ELN.
The meeting started at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 3:45 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2381 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Welcoming the temporary, bilateral, national ceasefire announced on 4 September 2017 between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN),
“Acknowledging the request by the Government of Colombia and the ELN (the parties) in their 29 September 2017 Joint Communiqué (the Joint Communiqué) for the United Nations to participate as the international component and coordinator of a monitoring and verification mechanism (MVM), comprised of representatives of the Government of Colombia, the ELN, the United Nations and the Catholic Church, to verify compliance with the temporary bilateral ceasefire,
“Recalling the positive role played by the UN Mission in Colombia established by resolution 2261 (2016) in monitoring and verifying the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC-EP), and recognizing the contribution which the UN could make in the context of the ceasefire between the Government of Colombia and the ELN,
“Considering the Secretary-General’s letter to the President of the Security Council of 2 October 2017,
“1. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s letter to the President of the Security Council of 2 October 2017;
“2. Decides that the United Nations Verification Mission established in resolution 2366 (2017) shall, on a temporary basis until 9 January 2018, participate in and coordinate the work of the MVM, as outlined in the Joint Communiqué, in order to:
(i) Verify compliance with the temporary, bilateral, national ceasefire with the ELN at the national, regional and local level;
(ii) Endeavour to prevent incidents through enhanced coordination between the parties and resolution of disagreements;
(iii) Enable timely response by the parties to incidents;
(iv) Verify and report publicly and to the parties on compliance with the ceasefire;
“3. Approves the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s letter of 2 October 2017, including the size and operational aspects required, for the United Nations Verification Mission to carry out this work, with the addition of no more than 70 international observers and drawing on the existing staffing, logistics and resources of the Mission without affecting the implementation of its previously mandated tasks under resolution 2366 (2017);
“4. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s proposal to incorporate reporting with respect to the verification of the ceasefire within the reporting cycle already established by resolution 2366 (2017), and requests an additional update to the Security Council on the implementation of the tasks mandated by this resolution by 8 December 2017.”
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/18 reads as follows:
“Following the completion of the 12-month mandate of the United Nations Mission in Colombia (the Mission) on 25 September 2017, the Security Council welcomes the remarkable achievements in Colombia following 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).
“The Security Council takes note of the report from the Secretary-General of 25 September (S/2017/801) and welcomes the assessments, recommendations and lessons learned therein. The Security Council expresses its intention to take them into account in the context of its ongoing efforts to enhance the overall effectiveness of United Nations missions.
“The Security Council recalls resolutions 2261 (2016) and 2307 (2016) and congratulates the parties on the historic progress made since the signing of the Final Agreement including the culmination of the ceasefire, the cessation of hostilities, the process of laying down of arms and the transformation of the FARC-EP into a political party, bringing over five decades of conflict between them to a close. The Council pays tribute to the political will of the parties in achieving these milestones and to the leadership and spirit of cooperation they demonstrated in calling for the United Nations to partner with them in an innovative tripartite monitoring and verification mechanism (MVM). The Security Council emphasizes that their determination and commitment has ensured that Colombia’s peace process continues to be a source of inspiration for the resolution of conflicts globally and retains the potential to set an example for peace processes elsewhere in the world.
“The Security Council expresses its gratitude for the exemplary manner in which the Mission, led by Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault, accomplished the two tasks mandated to it by the Security Council, based upon the agreement by the Parties, in having coordinated the MVM for the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities and overseen the laying down of arms process. The Security Council underscores that this work played a vital role in supporting the successful implementation of the corresponding provisions in the peace agreement. The Council welcomes the Mission’s work with the MVM to promote a gender-sensitive approach. The Council expresses its appreciation to the Mission for delivering the swift, flexible and tailored support envisaged by the Council and demonstrating the potential of the United Nations at its best.
“The Security Council also expresses its gratitude to the observer-contributing countries, particularly those from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The Council also acknowledges the two guarantors of the peace process, Cuba and Norway and the two accompanying countries, Chile and Venezuela.
“The Security Council notes the equally important work still ahead to implement the specific security, political and socioeconomic provisions of the Final Peace Agreement and reaffirms the need for both parties to fulfil their commitments to achieve a lasting peace. In that regard, the Council recalls resolutions 2366 (2017) and 2377(2017) which established and mandated the United Nations Verification Mission to verify implementation by the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP of the process of political, economic and social reincorporation of the FARC-EP and the implementation of personal and collective security guarantees. The Council trusts that the work of the Verification Mission will be a strong source of support and encouragement for Colombia’s peace process.”