New York

21 September 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on Colombia [as prepared for delivery]

It is a pleasure to welcome President Santos to this chamber today and to share the good news he brings.

After more than four years of arduous negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–EP, a peace agreement is finally at hand.  

President Santos, I salute your vision, courage and leadership in ending through negotiations a conflict that has caused so much suffering for the Colombian people for so many decades.  

This great achievement is the work of Colombians: the parties and the many organizations and individuals who contributed to the negotiations.  

The international community has been privileged to support your efforts.  I would like to recognize in particular the contributions of Cuba and Norway, the guarantors, along with Chile and Venezuela, the accompanying nations. 

The United Nations has been entrusted with important responsibilities, in particular in the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and the laying down of arms. 

I commend the Security Council for its unanimous, timely and effective action in responding to Colombia’s request for assistance. When the parties asked for this support in January, there was still no cease-fire, much less a final agreement. Yet the Council did not hesitate.  You believed in the Colombian peace process and you acted.  

We are now well advanced in the deployment of the UN Mission in Colombia. Some 200 unarmed observers and civilian staff are on the ground, deploying to the zones where they will carry out their verification, working with the parties, and engaging with communities and local authorities.  Their numbers will grow quickly as the next stages of the peace process are completed.  Their presence aims to help ensure that crucial commitments will be kept and to build confidence in the peace process. 

I thank the Council for its latest resolution authorizing the recommendations contained in my report regarding the mandate, size and logistical requirements for the mission.

I assure you that the Mission will work in a coordinated fashion alongside the existing United Nations system in Colombia. UN agencies, funds and programmes have been supporting peacebuilding in Colombia for many years. They are gearing up to provide all possible support to the implementation of the agreements, including by continuing their important work on promoting human rights, implementing  development programmes and providing humanitarian assistance .  

President Santos, I commend you once again for your vision and determination.  It will be an honour to attend the signing ceremony in Cartagena on Monday.  These comprehensive agreements offer Colombians not only the end of a conflict, but the prospect of lasting peace rooted in more equitable development, a fully inclusive democracy, and redress for millions of victims.  

At a time of armed conflict in many other places, peace in Colombia sends a powerful message of hope to the world.

Thank you.