Thank you Mr President. Thank you Minister. I would like to begin by welcoming you into the chamber, as well as Foreign Minister Holguin.
The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2261 today. The Special Political Mission that this resolution mandates is an important step forwards towards peace in Colombia. It is an outcome that both the Government of Colombia and the FARC have called for. I pay tribute to the leadership shown, particularly by President Santos, in bringing this issue to the Council.
I’m pleased that the United Kingdom could lead the drafting of this resolution and I am delighted that we received such strong support from all Council Members. The United Kingdom is a great supporter of the Colombian government’s efforts to secure peace; a peace that has sadly eluded Colombia for over five decades.
In that time, the Colombian people have shown great resilience and we welcome the progress made since negotiations began in 2012. The agreements already reached on rural development, political participation, illegal drugs and, most recently, victims’ rights and transitional justice are testament to the commitment of both parties. The Joint Communiqué issued last week, setting out the monitoring mechanisms for the ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities, is another positive step towards the Final Peace agreement.
It is to the credit of the parties that they have worked together to bring this issue to the Council. It isn’t common for a country to refer itself to the Council but this is exactly the sort of role the United Nations should be playing; supporting conflict prevention and conflict resolution at the national level alongside others, including CELAC Members.
I hope that today will mark the start of the final stage in Colombia’s Peace Talks and that this resolution itself will help build confidence and momentum towards the final Peace Agreement.
The United Kingdom will play our part by working with Colombia, other Council Members and the UN Secretariat. Together we can ensure that the implementation of this resolution is swift and effective so that it supports Colombia to realise a stable, prosperous future for all its citizens.
To do so, I hope we can draw on the welcome unity we showed today. It is this unity that we will need to sustain if we are to make progress, in support of Colombia’s Peace Agreement, and on so many of the other issues we face this year.