Latin Amer­ica’s long­est con­flict had caused 250,000 deaths

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

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

MARK GARTEN / UN VIA AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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