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Success in Colombian peace process depends on efforts to curb violence: UN envoy

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United Nations, Jan 12 (Ajit Weekly News) The UN top envoy for Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, has said that success in the Colombian peace process depends on the government’s efforts to curb violence.

“There is a fundamental reality that has to be acknowledged. The lasting success of the Colombian peace agreement, which we all wish to see, is contingent on the ability of the Colombian authorities to address the persistent violence that poses its greatest threat,” he told the Security Council in a quarterly briefing on Wednesday.

The government is making an admirable effort to do so, in part, through differentiated dialogues with the illegal armed groups aimed at ending the violence. If these dialogues are successful, this would greatly contribute to generating the security conditions necessary for the different provisions of the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to materialise, said Massieu, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.

“The effective implementation of the (2016) agreement in itself would bring about the transformations required for lasting peace to take root,” he added.

While pressing forward with the implementation of the 2016 agreement, government engagement with illegal armed actors has continued in the framework of its “total peace” policy, said Massieu.

Last month the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) concluded the first round of peace dialogues in Venezuela amid a constructive environment. They plan to hold a new round in Mexico in the coming weeks. The parties’ decision to reinitiate discussions is widely supported in Colombian society and is valued especially by communities affected by the conflict in several regions, he added.

The New Year began with a hopeful announcement by Colombia President Gustavo Petro of six-month cease-fires with several illegal armed actors operating in various areas across the country, he said as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

“If carefully designed and carried out with commitment, these de-escalation measures agreed with armed groups can help to significantly reduce violence and suffering of conflict-affected communities while building trust in ongoing dialogues.”

The Security Council’s decision on Wednesday to authorise the expansion of the UN Verification Mission’s mandate to include the 2016 agreement’s comprehensive rural reform and the ethnic chapters in its verification tasks will enable the mission to increase its contribution to peace in Colombia, Massieu added.

“There are plentiful opportunities ahead for peacebuilding in Colombia. The role of the UN and the solid support of this (Security) Council remain as important as ever,” he said.

–Ajit Weekly News


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