5 April 2017 - Peace process in Colombia: a source of hope for the UN [fr]
Briefing on the situation in Colombia
Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 5 April 2017
I would like to begin by once again conveying our deep solidarity with Colombia following the tragic events in the Mocoa region. The death toll now stands at almost 300. President Hollande immediately offered his condolences to President Santos and the people of Colombia. We have indicated our readiness to provide any assistance upon the request of the Colombian Government. I remind my Colombian colleague, who has acted commendably, that we stand by the people of Colombia now, more than ever, in the face of this terrible ordeal.
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jean Arnault, for his illuminating briefing and his exemplary commitment, as well as that of his teams. Naturally, he can count on the full support of France and the other members of the Security Council, I would venture.
France fully supports the courageous peace process led by President Santos. That is the central message that President Hollande conveyed when he was in Colombia in January. During that trip, he and his Colombian counterpart visited one of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) demobilization zone. We once again welcome the parties’ unshakeable desire to bring about peace and their full compliance with the ceasefire since the signing of the peace agreement. Their determination to close that chapter after more than 50 years of conflict shows that peace is always possible, regardless of what obstacles must be overcome. For all of us in the Security Council, which has dealt with numerous crises all over the world, this is a source of hope and encouragement.
France will do its part in working for the consolidation of peace in Colombia. French aid stands at around €820 million in gifts and loans linked to post-conflict initiatives, primarily in the areas of rural development, land governance and demining. We also directly contributed €3 million to the European Union Trust Fund.
We are encouraged by the measures taken by the parties with regard to the implementation of the peace agreement. The FARC-EP’s movement to demobilization zones and the surrender of the first weapons to the United Nations are major steps in the establishment of lasting peace in Colombia. We warmly welcome those developments. We hope that, with the commitment and will of all, the 180-day deadline for the full surrender of FARC-EP weapons to the United Nations will be met.
With the effective launching of the demobilization process, the implementation of the peace agreement is entering a critical phase. In that regard, it is essential not to underestimate the challenges that will be encountered in the transition to lasting peace and to create as soon as possible the necessary conditions for peacefully reintegrating those who are demobilized. Specifically, that will require the ability to offer prospects of socioeconomic reintegration to ex-combattants through development of zones affected by the conflict and the expeditious implementation of legal and security guarantees stipulated in the peace agreement.The noted trend of attacks and intimidation during the past few months against community leaders and human rights activists is a cause for concern. We know that the Colombian authorities are committed to take all necessary measures to respond to that situation.
Finally, we are pleased to see that the United Nations is doing its part in supporting the process, at the request of the parties. The deployment of the Mission on time is good news. It will enable the Mission to participate actively in the work of the tripartite Monitoring and Verification Mechanism as it relates to the ceasefire, and to coordinate the process of the FARC-EP surrendering their weapons. It shows that the United Nations can live up to those expectations. We are only too pleased. The Security Council’s upcoming visit to Colombia next week will be yet another example of our mobilization on that issue and of our unanimous will to doing whatever is necessary to meet the needs of the parties by providing them effective support along their path towards lasting peace.