What's In Blue

Posted Mon 25 Jan 2016

Adoption of a Resolution Establishing a UN mission in Colombia

This afternoon (25 January), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution establishing a political mission of unarmed international observers in Colombia. The Foreign Minister of Colombia María Ángela Holguín is expected to participate the meeting. The mission will be responsible for the monitoring and verification of the laying down of arms, and will coordinate a tripartite mechanism that will monitor and verify the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities agreed to by the parties. The draft resolution was circulated by the UK last week and after one meeting further negotiations took place by email. The draft went into blue on Saturday morning.

The draft resolution follows a 19 January letter sent to the Council president by the Government of Colombia enclosing a Joint Communiqué between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) (S/2016/53). The Joint Communiqué is the result of a peace process that started in November 2012, which had the Republic of Cuba and the Kingdom of Norway as guarantors,

The draft requests the Secretary-General to initiate preparations on the ground for the establishment of the mission and to present detailed recommendations to the Council for its consideration and approval regarding its size and operational aspects as soon as possible. The Secretary-General is expected to provide recommendations within 30 days of the signature of the ceasefire agreement by the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP. Council members discussed whether the mission should start operating after the signing of the final peace agreement or its entry into force. In the end it was decided that preparations should start immediately, with the Secretary-General providing recommendations prior and after the signature of the ceasefire agreement. The Joint Communiqué asks the mission to settle disputes between the parties on the basis of its role as the international component of the tripartite mechanism, but this request is not reflected in the draft as the mandate is expected to be fleshed out following the recommendations of the Secretary-General. Overall, the process for setting up the mission seems to follow quite closely the political mission established in Nepal in 2007.

One of the issues that saw some differing views among Council members was the Joint Communiqué’s request that member states from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) contribute to the mission. Some Council members expressed the need to broaden the scope of contributors and as a result the final draft looks forward to the contributions of CELAC member states, without expressing the Council’s preferences on this matter. (The Colombia peace process is expected to be discussed in the 27 January CELAC summit to be held in Quito, Ecuador.)