UNITED NATIONS – Colombia’s government on Wednesday submitted the peace agreement with the FARC guerrilla group to the UN Security Council.
The agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, “is a contribution to world peace,” President Juan Manuel Santos said.
Santos submitted the document to the Security Council’s president in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who confirmed that he would travel to the northern Colombian city of Cartagena next week for the signing of the peace agreement.
“Here is the product of this work in which we all helped, and it is a contribution to world peace,” Santos said during the ceremony, which took place ahead of a Security Council session to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo attended the ceremony and greeted Santos afterward.
Santos said in remarks to the Security Council that the agreement finalized last month was the result of six years of negotiations, two of them in secret and four in Havana, aimed at bringing an end to a 52-year armed conflict that was the Western Hemisphere’s longest and which caused a great amount of pain and suffering.
The Colombian president added that for the first time victims and their right to truth, justice and redress was at the heart of the effort to resolve the conflict.
In earlier remarks, the UN secretary-general hailed the vision, courage and leadership Santos showed in bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.
He also praised guarantor countries Cuba and Norway, as well as Chile and Venezuela, which also contributed to the process.
Ban added that the United Nations had key responsibilities in monitoring and verifying compliance with the bilateral cease-fire and the laying aside of weapons by the guerrillas.
Initially, the United Nations is carrying out a monitoring and verification mission in Colombia that consists of 200 observers to be deployed in different zones of the Andean nation.
That figure will rise as subsequent phases of the peace process are completed, Ban added.