BOGOTA’, MAY 5 – “We are going to fulfill every part of the peace agreement”, the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos assured the 15 members of the UN Security Council traveling to Colombia for a fact finding mission. Led by the UK and Uruguay’s Ambassadors, the Council had a busy day in Bogotá, which included meetings with the cabinet, members of Congress, representatives of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP), and members of civil society. “The government’s obsession is to show that peace is irreversible”, said Vice President Óscar Naranjo.
The Council’s arrival coincided with an announcement by the FARC-EP of the commitment to lay down an additional 500 weapons by 5 May. It was also preceded by the kidnapping of a UN employee by a rebel FARC dissident faction in Southern Colombia. Council members stressed their support for the peace agreement and encouraged the parties to maintain their cooperation and momentum in implementing it. They repeatedly emphasised the positive example that the Colombian peace process provides to countries around the world and indicated that challenges it faces are common to the implementation of any peace agreement.
Addressing the press, Ambassador Elbio Rosselli (Uruguay) underscored that peace processes are never linear, and even if they often face difficulties and setbacks, what matters is to maintain the effort. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft (UK) encouraged Colombians to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity by making sure that all parties fulfill their commitments.
The Council then departed by helicopter to the Colombian jungle to visiti the Transitional Local Zone for Normalization of “La Reforma” in the Department of Meta. There they will get a field perspective regarding the procedures for laying down weapons and engage with key actors in this process, including local communities. Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi is traveling with the Council, as Italy holds since January a non-permanent elective seat. (@OnuItalia)