UNSC authorizes Colombia mission

The Associated Press UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday authorizing a new U.N. political mission in Colombia to focus on reintegrating leftist rebels into society after more than 50 years of war — a task the United Nations calls the most urgent challenge following the rebels’ handover of their last weapons.

A British-drafted resolution establishes the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia for an initial period of one year starting on Sept. 17, when the mandate of the current mission that has been monitoring the cease-fire and disarmament process ends. It asks Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make detailed recommendations on the size, operational aspects, and mandate of the new mission within 45 days.

Guterres is confident the verification mission “will contribute to building trust and supporting the parties” during the reintegration phase, “which is critical to consolidating peace,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Latin America’s longest-running conflict caused at least 250,000 deaths, left 60,000 people missing and displaced more than 7 million. After years of thorny negotiations, the rebels reached an agreement with the government last year to transition into a political party, but serious differences remain over the peace deal.

In January 2016, before the agreement, the Colombian government and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia known as the FARC jointly asked the United Nations to monitor any cease-fire and disarmament process, a rare request to the U.N. for help, which it accepted.

Last month, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos again sent a letter to the council on behalf of the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group requesting a second political mission for three years, “renewable if necessary.”Speech

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