Peace through dialogue is expanding in Colombia: Guterres

A six-month truce between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) is brightening the prospects of long and durable peace in the future.

While welcoming the ceasefire UN Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) on the start of their bilateral ceasefire which entered into force on Thursday, his spokesperson said in a statement.

The two sides also established National Participation Committee, launched in tandem with the ceasefire.

“By adhering to the ceasefire in good faith and with a clear commitment to alleviating the suffering of civilians, the parties can significantly reduce violence while enhancing trust at the peace table,” the statement said.

“Colombia’s persistent efforts to expand peace through dialogue are advancing,” the UN chief said, urging the international community to support these initiatives both politically and through support for the implementation of agreements.

The UN Verification Mission in Colombia will monitor the ceasefire, following the unanimous adoption of a resolution by the Security Council on Wednesday, which also authorized the deployment of up to 68 additional international observers.

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“In accordance with the mandate given to it yesterday by the Security Council, the Verification Mission is ready to do its part in the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire,” the statement said.

The UN Mission was established following the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC rebel group, which ended more than 50 years of civil war.

The ELN and another group, EMC, did not sign onto the accord.

The Security Council also expressed willingness to consider mandating the UN Mission to monitor a ceasefire with EMC “when the Secretary-General confirms a ceasefire including appropriate verification protocols has been reached”.

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Peace through dialogue is expanding in Colombia: Guterres
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