UN Security Council expands mandate of Colombia mission to monitor truce with ELN

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/10/6 10:08:26

The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to expand the mandate of the Verification Mission in Colombia to enable it to monitor a temporary cease-fire agreement between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

In an unanimous vote, the 15-member council adopted Resolution 2381, which authorizes the deployment of up to 70 additional international observers to join the mission to help monitor the cease-fire in addition to its original task of overseeing a peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel group.

The new resolution decides that the Verification Mission in Colombia will also verify compliance with the temporary cease-fire with the ELN at the national, regional and local level; to endeavour to prevent incidents through enhanced coordination between the parties and resolution of disagreements; to enable timely response by the parties to incidents; and to verify and report publicly to the parties on compliance with the cease-fire.

The Security Council in July approved the establishment of the Verification Mission in Colombia to verify the political, economic and social reintegration of former FARC combatants as well as security guarantees. On Sept. 14, it further approved the recommendations of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres concerning the size, operational aspects and mandate of the mission, including the deployment of 120 unarmed, non-uniformed international observers. The mission started operations on Sept. 26.

Thursday's Security Council resolution expands its mandate to include the peace process with the ELN, with which the Colombian government agreed on a cease-fire last month. The temporary cease-fire entered into force on Sunday and expires on Jan. 9, 2018.

The council members welcomed the adoption of the new resolution and were heartened by the temporary cease-fire with the ELN.

British ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft, whose country is the penholder of the resolution, said: "Let us do all we can to support the government of Colombia and the ELN in that effort (of peace)." "We know that this is just the start," he told the council after the vote.

China welcomed the adoption of the resolution and commended parties in Colombia for their peace efforts.

The temporary cease-fire agreement between the Colombian government and the ELN is a major progress in the Colombian peace process, said Wu Haitao, charge d'affaires of the Chinese mission to the United Nations. China extends congratulations over the achievement and commends all concerned parties in Colombia for their peace efforts, he told the council.

Since the government reached a cease-fire agreement and a peace deal with FARC last year, the peace process in the country continued to witness new progress, resulting in positive momentum, said Wu. The cease-fire agreement with the ELN provided favorable conditions for the early realization of comprehensive and sustainable peace and stability in Colombia, he said.

China hopes the UN Secretariat will get the preparation work done as soon as possible so that the Verification Mission can carry out its extended mandate, he said. "We also hope that the Verification Mission, on the basis of respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Colombia, will ensure the comprehensive implementation of the mandate by strengthening communication with the Colombian government and conducting good internal coordination work so as to provide constructive help for the greater outcome of the Colombian peace process."

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