On May 5th 2017, the United Nations Security Council sent a 15-man delegation led by the Uruguayan Ambassador, Elbio Rosselli, to Colombia to witness the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the former rebel group, FARC-EP.
The purpose of the visit was to express the support of the United Nations to all parties in the process, and the willingness to provide additional help if requested. The Council delegation met with the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, the Vice-President, the Chancellor and the post-conflict cabinet in Bogotá to discuss the challenges and difficulties to put an end to a conflict of more than 50 years. “We thank you for the example you are giving. These processes are never linear, they have ups and downs, they may have setbacks but what matters is to maintain the effort. This Security Council is committed to providing the support that Colombians want and deserve,” said Mr. Roselli to the Colombian government in the meeting.
“With the process of pacification of Colombia, the American continent is the only region in the world in which there is no active conflict,” added Mr. Rosselli, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of May.
The Security Council delegation also visited one of the designated locations, where around 7,000 FARC-EP members are concentrated in fulfillment of the compromise to lay down their weapons and wait for the political and judicial reforms to return them to civilian life. In the normalization zone La Referma, in the department of Meta, the delegation met with the head of the UN Mission in Colombia Jean Arnault and the FARC-EP leader Iván Márquez who expressed a “sincere thanks” to the Security Council. Mr. Roselli thanked the staff working there and highlighted the trust between the Government and FARC members, adding that this “further affirms the absolute confidence, certainly, that this process goes forward and has no return.”
The department of Meta was one of the areas most affected by violence in the country, and the peace process has changed positively the life in the community last months. President Santos, the 2016 Nobel Peace laureate, thanked the support shown by the UN during the three-day visit and said to the media “I want to highlight the way the United Nations has helped us to manage the cease-fire. More than 2,670 lives have been saved so far in the peace process.”
After the visit, Matthew Rycroft, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Security Council and co-leader of the delegation, pointed that “All of the parties and everyone in the parties are fully committed to peace. This peace is irreversible. We have heard in detail about some of the challenges of implementation. But what we have seen is a commitment, and a spirit and a confidence between the FARC and the government.”