UN Security Council voices concern over Colombia's peace process
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Tuesday voiced concern over setbacks in Colombia's peace process.
In a press statement, the council members deplored the Aug. 29 announcement by a group of former leaders of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that they would return to armed activity. They welcomed the swift rejection of this action by the government, FARC, and other political parties and civil society.
The Colombian government and FARC struck a peace deal in August 2016 after four years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba, ending a five-decade-long conflict in the country.
The UN Verification Mission in Colombia, mandated by the Security Council, is tasked to verify the reintegration of former FARC fighters.
The members of the Security Council also expressed concern about the increase in attacks against political party candidates across the political spectrum ahead of local and departmental elections on Oct. 27.
They called on all stakeholders to refrain from electoral violence, including threats and intimidation targeting voters and candidates, and urged them to ensure that these milestone elections are peaceful and democratic.
The council members reiterated their serious concern over the continued killings of community and social leaders and former FARC members. They called for those responsible for these killings to be brought to justice.
They welcomed several measures including the "Peace with Legality" plan, the development programs with a territorial focus, and others that contribute to the implementation of the peace agreement.
They stressed the importance of implementing the agreement as a comprehensive and interlocking set of commitments, and to make full use of the mechanisms established for this purpose.
They welcomed the dialogue between the government and the FARC political party that enabled a smooth transition of the former territorial areas for training and reintegration for former combatants, and urged further acceleration in efforts to secure the full socio-economic, political and legal re-incorporation of former FARC members and efforts on broader rural and political reform as set out in the peace agreement.
The council members reiterated their full and unanimous support for the peace process in Colombia. They welcomed both parties' continued affirmation of their commitment to its success in the face of significant challenges.
The Security Council was briefed on Thursday by Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the UN secretary-general's special representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.