Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Colombia
We thank Head of UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu for presenting the report on the situation in the country. We also thank Ms.Penarada and Ms.Soto fopr their statements.
We welcome personal participation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia Marta Lucía Ramírez in this briefing.
We agree with the report’s conclusion that there has been some progress with implementation of the obligations under the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) by the government. However a lot more needs to be done in order to achieve true and lasting peace. We are concerned over the fact that as estimated by Colombians themselves, implementation of the FPA is being dragged out, and now it is expected to take 26 instead of the 15 years stipulated in the Agreement.
We echo the report’s conclusion that safety and security of the peace process participants and other representatives of the civil society is the primary task. The scourge of criminal groups’ activity turned additional 15,000 people into IDPs, thus bringing the total number of internally displaced up to over 57,000. Another 46,000 were cut off from the outside world in their settlements. The number of former combatants who laid down arms and then were killed after the FPA was signed is approaching 300, and the number of rights activists who have been killed since the start of this year went beyond 150.
Against this sad statistics, the National Commission on Security Guarantees, which must convene monthly under the FPA, has not held any meetings in the past half year. Nor has the National Council for Peace, Reconciliation and Coexistence.
The report rightly states that regions where central authorities are scarcely represented are the most problematic. This vacuum of power and legal order is filled by illegal armed formations, which fosters crime and maintains high level of violence in the country. Local authorities are perfectly aware of the situation. They know exactly where they need to enhance their presence and what steps they need to make to curb crime and drug trafficking.
It is high time everyone recognized that full implementation of the Final Peace Agreement is not possible unless the problem of drug trafficking is solved, because this is the main reason and source of violence in Colombia. Besides, states consumers of Colombian cocaine should recognize their share of responsibility and assume a more robust position – to both help counter drug trafficking inside Colombia and cut their own domestic consumption.
The key role in consolidating public accord around the FPA belongs to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Truth Commission that must remain fully independent.
We believe that entry into force of the decree establishing 16 transitional constituencies and 16 seats in the lower chamber of the Parliament was an important development that should improve the situation with historical underrepresentation of some regions in this executive body.
Another important aspect was achievement of the 50% benchmark in the number of registered participants of the peace process who enrolled in governmental income-generating programs.
At the same time, while progressing towards settlement, it is important to bear in mind that sustainable reconciliation may not be achieved unless all actors, including the “National Liberation Army” (ELN) are engaged in the process. We realize that establishing dialogue between the government and the ELN is not an easy task, especially when taking into account the burden of mutual distrust and enmity that they have accumulated. Nevertheless, we consider it crucial to “clear the rubble” on their way towards recovery of dialogue that suspended in 2019.
We are convinced that improvement of relations with the neighboring Venezuela would help ensure lasting peace and stability in Colombia. We welcome the efforts aimed at resuming the operation of border checkpoints. We hope that recovery of dialogue between the law enforcement mechanisms of the two states will come next – so as to be able to counter the outrage of crime in the border areas. Also, it could serve as a safeguard against confusions and provocations with dangerous ramifications.
24 November will mark 5 years since the historic Colombian agreement was signed. This is one third of the 15 years that were initially given for its implementation. It is time we drew preliminary conclusions. By all means, much has been accomplished, but even more remains to be done.
We are convinced that strict adherence of the government to its obligations remains imperative. Substitution of the FPA with some unilateral programs that have not been endorsed by all participants of the peace process is fraught with a backlash, paralleled by most negative long-lasting effects.
As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia will continue supporting Colombia’s peace process in order to make it sustainable and irreversible.