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Colombia: UNSC endorses new peace mission; Italy, international support crucial for peace

NEW YORK, JULY 10 – “The role played by  the United Nations and by the UN Security Council in Colombia is an example of flexibility, effectiveness and respect of parties ownership. The international community support is crucial for the peace process”, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi told today a Security Council meeting after the unanimous vote on resolution 2366, endorsing a new peace mission in Colombia to help FARC rebels reintegrate society as the peace deal moves to a new, challenging phase after the laying down of weapons.

After a historic deal ended the decades-long guerrilla war, the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) completed the handover of weapons on June 27. The Council adopted a British-drafted resolution that sets up the new verification mission as of September 26, when a first mission set up to oversee the disarmament ends. The new political mission, to be headed by a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for an initial period of 12 months, is expected to verify implementation of several measures of the Final Agreement, including political, economic and social reincorporation of the FARC-EP; the implementation of personal and collective security guarantees; and comprehensive programmes on security and protection measures for communities and organisations in conflict-affected areas.

The resolution calls on the current UN Mission in Colombia to start “provisional work anticipated by the Verification Mission…within its current configuration and capacity” up until the time its mandate ends on 25 September, and requests the Secretary-General to present detailed recommendations to the Security Council regarding the size and operational aspects and mandate of the Verification Mission, within 45 days of this resolution’s adoption.

Cardi praised the parties for laying down of arms, and for their firm commitment and strong leadership: all key factors in the peace process.

Jean Arnault, Head of the current UN Mission in Colombia, issued a statement from Bogota welcoming the decision, including the Council’s request that the Mission “begin these verification tasks as of the present date, within available resources.”

He said the Mission stands ready to carry out these new tasks, and, as it has done for the ceasefire and laying down of arms, will: present an impartial balance on compliance with the commitments so far to the parties and to society; aim to propose solutions and combine forces for its implementation; seek to generate confidence and contribute to securing the support of the international community for the peace process in Colombia.

“To fulfill these commitments, the Mission is reassigning a part of its resources and personnel to local sites and regional offices, without undermining the execution of its tasks related to the ceasefire and laying down of weapons,” added Mr. Arnault. (@OnuItalia)

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