DEPARTMENT OF META (COLOMBIA), MAY 5 – At one point of the trip the bus was stuck in mud, but the spirits were high anyway, the Ambassadors said. While visiting one of Colombia’s monitoring mechanism facilities situated in the Amazon Region of the South American country, a delegation of the United Nations Security Council met today with members of La Referma community including government representatives, guerrilla rebels and the UN in that area.
The purpose of the mission was to witness first-hand implementation of the historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), and to observe the progress as well as the challenges of carrying out the aims of a hard-won peace deal.
This monitoring mechanism facility in Colombia’s Meta Department is one of the designated locations where the Government of Colombia as well as FARC-EP continues to work together paving the path towards peace. Addressing all parties present in the transitional zone, Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, of Uruguay, which holds the Council’s presidency of the month of May, highlighted the trust between Government and FARC-EP representatives.
He said he was struck to see, on one hand people with the UN (blue) jackets and on the other, Government representatives as well as guerrilla component using the same brown colour, adding that this “further affirms the absolute confidence, certainty, that this process goes forward and has no return.”
According to the UK PR Matthew Rycroft, “a lot of progress has been made. There are also some challenges that come with the implementation of any peace agreement. But it has got to the point now, where progress is irreversible”. Among the challenges, Rycroft mentioned FARC dissidents, “people who are so extreme that they are not in the peace process. And there are some people like that in Colombia, and they are a challenge to the peace process”.
Other challenges come from the public opinion, for instance about the amnesty: “These are very big, significant issues, but I am very impressed by the way that the country has come together. I am very confident that this agreement is going to be fully implemented”, Rycroft said. .
The members of the Council, including Italian PR Sebastiano Cardi, were accompanied by the head of the UN Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, senior Colombian Government officials and FARC-EP leaders. The Colombian Government’s High Commissioner for Peace recalled that Meta was one of the areas most affected by violence. “We know what peace means for this community and we hope they can talk to the people immersed in the conflict,” Sergio Jaramillo told the members of the Security Council. Also present was FARC-EP leader, Iván Márquez. He expressed a “sincere, deep thanks” to the Security Council.
Upon departure from New York earlier this week, Mr. Rosselli stressed that the presence of the Security Council would carry a message to Colombia that the UN was committed to the special political mission established there, and would provide additional support, as requested.
After finishing the visit to Colombia, the Members of the Security Council will return to New York, where they will hold an informative session about their visit later in May. (@OnuItalia)