Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at an open VTC of UNSC members on Colombia
We thank Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu for presenting the report on the situation in that country.
Unfortunately, the document confirms the assessments about a lack of progress in implementing the key provisions of the Final Peace Agreement (FPA), which UNSC mandated the Mission to monitor. This instills growing concern, especially in view of the pending electoral cycle.
Let me remind that the FPA put an end to the half-century-long internal armed conflict and could receive broad international support due to the fact that it had resulted from a painstaking direct dialogue and concrete agreements made by the Colombian sides, with the UN Mission there to observe their implementation.
This historic document should not be perceived as a unilateral statement of intention. Therefore, its implementation must be accompanied by continuous dialogue of it signatories.
In this context, we welcome the meeting of President Duque and leader of the party “Comunes” R.Londoño on 10 March 2021, as well as the decision to extend the mandate of the trilateral Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Final Agreement (CSIVI). We call on the Colombian sides to maintain constructive contacts at all levels in order to ensure transparency of all steps and their compliance with the FPA letter and spirit. Unagreed unilateral measures are not able to advance the peace process.
This point is valid for each out of five priority tracks that the Secretary-General highlighted in his report and that cover almost all aspects of the settlement. We agree with the report that the progress on these five tracks is insufficient. We count on Bogota making extra efforts within its obligations under the FPA to improve the situation.
One of the most urgent issues is ensuring safety and security of civilians, including the participants of the peace process, their family members and representatives of the civil society. We regret to note that murder statistic does not decline, and the progress in respective investigations is very poor. Besides, the criminal environment now deteriorates in previously safer districts.
Security threats are so high that in January-February this year they forced 13,500 people to become IDPs – the report says. For comparison – this is as many people as all those who are officially enrolled in the peace process.
Members of the Security Council receive regular information on the progress that Colombia’s government achieved in carrying out the programs that are not stipulated in the Final Peace Agreement. At the same time, the implementation of the FPA itself proceeds too slowly. This can be said about the comprehensive land reform, land allocation, crops substitution, the work of the National Reintegration Council, etc.
We proceed from the assumption that Colombia’s government and society should in the first place focus on the implementation of the provisions of the Final Peace Agreement. Otherwise the prospects of having lasting peace in Colombia would continuously move away.
Now to the report and the work of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.
It is well-known that unsolved security issues drive people to take up arms again. That is why we believe it is important to have the report reflect the headcount dynamic of so-called “dissidents”. These figures can be indicative of the peace process efficiency.
Once again, we were rather perplexed to see the report mention challenges that LGBT community is faced with. We do not quite understand what this information has to do with the peace process and overcoming the aftereffects of the internal armed conflict. The Council would rather benefit from receiving data about social security, and safety of families with children, where the bread-winner fell victim to conflict or attack. Single parent families constitute a truly vulnerable group in a post-conflict environment.
Besides, the report gives but little information on resolution of disputes between the government and the ‘National Liberation Army’ with regard to resuming direct dialogue without preconditions. Sustainable peace cannot come to Colombia unless all key stakeholders embark on it.
As for the initiative to extend the mandate of the Mission and delegate it with monitoring the implementation of some separate decisions of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, we took note of the information shared in a letter of the Secretary-General of 25 February. The Council also discussed this issue repeatedly. We assume that at this point we have a shared understanding that such a step is needed, especially now that we have a corresponding direct address of the Colombian sides.
In conclusion, the SG report indicates that it would be premature to say that the peace process in Colombia is irreversible. Relative peace in the country is too fragile, whereas the number of factors that negatively affect the peace prospects is but growing. That is why the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and the guarantors of Colombia’s peace process aim their efforts at consistent implementation of the peacebuilding tasks, stipulated in the Final Peace Agreement.
International support for this historic accord gives a credit of trust to Colombians with a prospect that they will strictly abide by the FPA provisions.
As a P5 member, Russia is ready to render further assistance to the Colombian peace process in order to make it sustainable and irreversible.