NEW YORK, MAY 3 – The 15 members of the UN Security Council are in Colombia for a three days visit aimed at demonstrating the Council’s commitment to the peace process in Colombia and to commend the parties on bringing an end to the conflict. According to the mission’s terms of reference, Council members will prioritise getting a better understanding of the aspirations and concerns of the parties and other actors, and encouraging the parties to maintain their positive cooperation and momentum in implementing the agreement.
The UK and Uruguay are co-leading the mission. Italy is represented by its Permanent Representative, Sebastiano Cardi. Council envoys will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos and Ivan Marquez, the lead negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia(FARC), who signed a watershed deal last year to end South America’s longest-running conflict. The Council will press for quick implementation of the peace deal after some delays, exacerbated by the devastating mudslides last month. “Things are going well, but these processes always have problems, some of these problems are natural, others man-made” Uruguay’s Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, who hods the rotating presidency for the month of May, said Monday at a news conference ahead of the visit: “We believe that the message that we want to give to the process is basically ‘you have to keep moving it.'”
The mission will be an opportunity to assess progress as the 180-day deadline established in the agreement for the laying down of weapons approaches (1 June) by visiting one of three “transition zones” set up for FARC combatants to turn in their weapons under UN supervision and begin their return to the mainstream.It will also address the situation of human rights. The UN and NGOs have condemned the recent trend of deadly attacks against community leaders and human rights defenders in rural areas. (@OnuItalia)