Colombian Government and FARC on the Eve of Peace


This week the United Nations Security Council decided to proceed with a mission to Colombia to monitor disarmament in the event the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) reach an agreement to end their armed conflict. The clash between these two forces is Latin America’s longest running conflict, beginning in the mid-1960s. This mission by the Security Council is meant to last 12 months and, “to monitor and verify the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and the laying down of arms”. The FARC rebels and Colombian Government began these talks in Havana in 2012, after decades and almost a quarter million victims, speaking on key issues such as political participation, land rights, drugs, victims’ rights, and justice.

The Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said, “Colombia is on the path to peace,” with the hopes of bringing an end to one of, if not, the longest running conflicts in the Western Hemisphere. The peace deal must be signed by late March. The measure within the agreement that has been adopted so far, requests that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “Initiate preparations now, including on the ground,” as well as show detailed plans to the Security Council for consideration regarding the operational plans of this mission. These plans need to be consistent with the parties’ wishes and then take affect within a month of the signature of the ceasefire by both sides. The UN and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon note their approval of the efforts of the side of Colombia and FARC and fully support their efforts to find a peaceful resolution to this long fought conflict. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also notes his appreciation to the UN stating, “A positive response to our request and the immediate establishment of the mission for monitoring and verification of the Agreement on the ceasefire and bilateral and definitive cessation of hostilities and abandonment of arms will make a significant contribution to progress in the final phase of the negotiations, which should quickly result in the signing of a Final Agreement for the Termination of Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Durable Peace between the Government of the Republic of Colombia and FARC-EP”.

This type of bilateral agreement with the involvement of the UN is the type of peace agreement needed in more parts of the world. Although with about 50 years of conflict and a quarter million victims, it is amazing that this agreement did not take place sooner. Perhaps with these types of deep seeded conflicts it is only through the changing of generations that any sort of understanding and agreements can be reached. It is anyone’s guess whether this peace will last, but it is important to remember that this agreement is the best hope that has been given so far. With careful consideration and understanding, hopefully, this agreement can hold long lasting peace in a region that has been in conflict for 50 or more years.