Latin America’s longest conflict had caused 250,000 deaths
UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council on Monday decided to establish a new mission in Colombia to focus on reintegrating rebels into society after more than 50 years of war a task the United Nations calls the most urgent challenge following the rebels’ handover of their last weapons.
A British-drafted resolution establishes the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia for an initial period of one year starting on Sept 26, when the mandate of the current mission that has been monitoring the cease-fire and disarmament process ends. It asks SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres to make detailed recommendations on the size, operational aspects, and mandate of the new mission within 45 days.
Guterres is confident the verification mission “will contribute to building trust and supporting the parties” during the reintegration phase, “which is critical to consolidating peace,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the UN, also president of the Security Council for July, told reporters that the peace agreement is an important milestone in Colombia and the Security Council gives its firm support at the critical stage of implementing the final agreement.
Latin America’s longestrunning conflict caused at least 250,000 deaths, left 60,000 people missing and displaced more than 7 million. After years of thorny negotia- tions, the rebels reached an agreement with the government last year to transition into a political party, but serious differences remain over the peace deal.
In January last year, before the agreement, the Colombian government and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia known as the FARC jointly asked the UN to monitor any cease-fire and disarmament process, a rare request to the UN for help, which it accepted.
Last month, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos again sent a letter to the council on behalf of the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group requesting a second political mission for three years, “renewable if necessary”. The Security Council also visited Colombia in early May for a firsthand look at peace efforts and the UN mission.
Ten days ago, Jean Arnault, the UN special representative in Colombia, told the council the most urgent challenge is to reintegrate the 10,000 former combatants into society, a process that he said will be difficult.
Arnault said the FARC
Liu Jieyi, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, also president of the UN Security Council for July, speaks at the UN headquarters on Monday. The Security Council has approved a resolution authorizing a new political mission in Colombia to focus on reintegrating rebels into society after decades of war.