Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Colombia

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July 12, 2023

Thank you, Mr. President. SRSG Ruiz Massieu, thank you for your briefing, and for your report. We appreciate the vital role that the UN Verification Mission continues to play in supporting peace in Colombia. I would also like to thank Ms. Diana Salcedo for sharing her perspective not only as a representative of civil society, but more importantly for amplifying the cross-cutting role women’s rights must continue to have in the implementation of the 2016 peace agreement. This perspective is necessary and invaluable. I also welcome the participation today of Colombian Foreign Minister Leyva in today’s briefing.

The United States is committed to supporting Colombia as it seeks to deepen implementation of the 2016 Peace Accord. The United States remains the top international donor to the 2016 Peace Accord, dedicating over $1.5 billion dollars toward its implementation since 2017.

As the first International Accompanier to the Ethnic Chapter of the 2016 Peace Accord, the United States demonstrated its desire to help Colombia address inequality and political and socioeconomic exclusion, issues that have disproportionately affected Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Making tangible progress on these issues is essential for a durable peace.

The United States joins the Secretary-General in urging the Government to redouble efforts to address historic exclusion and inequality. Making full use of the High-Level Forum for Ethnic Peoples is essential to ensure that implementation is shaped by the views and priorities of Indigenous and Afro-Colombians.

As the latest Secretary-General report notes, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace is making clear through its decisions that a commitment to upholding victims’ rights is the only way forward. The United States welcomes further cooperation between the SJP and the Government and looks forward to the first restorative sentences that will bring justice to the victims.

The United States continues to closely monitor the Colombian government’s efforts to expand its Total Peace plan through negotiations with the ELN and the dissident groups of the former FARC-EP.

We are encouraged that the ELN agreed to a 6-month ceasefire, although steps must be taken to outline the protocols to ensure that the ceasefire takes place in August as intended. We make special mention that the ELN must halt all acts of violence, extortion, kidnapping, and forced recruitment for this ceasefire to result in a genuine improvement to citizen security in Colombia.

We note that the Colombian government suspended the ceasefire with the FARC-EP-EMC in four departments in May, following the killing of four Indigenous minors.

For the UN Security Council to consider expanding the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, negotiations must progress, ceasefires must be respected, protocols must be fully developed, financed, and adhered to, and these groups must halt all criminal and terrorist activities, in particular those impacting civilian populations. Very careful consideration must be taken.

The United States remains supportive of efforts to help Colombia achieve a real and lasting peace and a demonstrable reduction in violence from illegal armed groups.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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