Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on the situation in Colombia
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Colombia, 10 January 2018, New York.
Let me begin by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jean Arnault for his comprehensive briefing. We continue to support his efforts and the work of the United Nations verification mission in Colombia.
I would also like to welcome the presence of the Vice President of Colombia, General Óscar Naranjo, with us here today. I thank him for his personal commitment to the peace process and to the implementation of the peace agreement.
Over a year has now passed since the final agreement between the Government and the FARC was ratified and the conflict came to an end. However, ensuring that peace is sustained requires a continuous effort. We commend the political courage shown and strong commitment to peace of both parties, and their efforts to overcome challenges in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. 2017 saw the successful laying down of arms and the conversion of the FARC-EP into a political party – a truly historic achievement.
The security and the reintegration of former combatants, both male and female, will mark the next milestone in the journey to consolidate a sustainable peace.
The increasing number of incidents of intimidation, reprisals and killings of human rights defenders, community leaders, FARC members and their families, continues to be worrisome and underscores the need for the state to fill the power vacuum and safeguard the rule of law. We welcome the updated stabilization plan as one measure to address this, and look forward to its speedy implementation.
A redoubled and sustained effort is now needed from all parts of the state, in support of the wider peace agreement, including comprehensive rural reform, so that it can rapidly deliver tangible peace dividends for all Colombians. The development of a national reintegration plan would be key in this regard, by providing a renewed impetus and ensuring coherence amongst all actors and initiatives. At this critical time in the implementation of the peace agreement, the United Nations and Colombia's international partners must lend their full support to the parties, and engage proactively to assist them in reaching their goals.
We would also like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the work of the mission on the inclusion and participation of women. We welcome the gender-sensitive analysis in the Secretary-General's report. Women's meaningful involvement in the ongoing reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts is essential to attaining long-term peace and stability. Also in this regard, Colombia can serve as a model.
Finally, we note the positive impact on the humanitarian situation of the temporary ceasefire between the Government and the ELN. We regret that ELN has resumed attacks and we urge them to renew their ceasefire as soon as possible, and reiterate that the United Nations and this Security Council must stand ready to assist the parties in monitoring a new agreement. Sweden, as a member of GPAAC (Groupo de Paises de Apoyo y Acompamenito y Cooperacion a la mesa Conversaciones), will assist the process as much as we can.
The Colombian Peace Agreement represents the culmination of an historic process, which brought to an end over 50 years of conflict and violence. It shows that, through political courage and leadership, through dialogue and diplomacy, and a supportive regional involvement, even the most entrenched conflicts can be brought to an end, setting an irreversible course for peace. The agreement also acts as a basis for the wider economic and social reforms that will benefit the entire country and all Colombians. It is a very visionary ambition and it is in line with the SDG agenda and how it connects to the sustaining peace agenda.
Successful implementation will ensure that the benefits are felt across the whole of the country and by all Colombians.
By remaining committed to the peace agreement, the parties are keeping faith with the hopes and aspirations of the Colombian people for the future of their country. We must continue to do all we can to support them.