UN Security Council Statement after the Vote: Colombia adoption, Statement delivered by Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, 13 September 2016

I will now make a statement in my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs for New Zealand.

At the outset can I welcome the Colombian Permanent Representative to the Security Council today.

The historic peace agreement concluded between the Government of Colombia and the FARC rebels on 24 August represents a significant milestone, one that offers the promise of a future of security and prosperity for all Colombians in the years to come.

New Zealand congratulates President Santos for the courage and determination he and his country have demonstrated in order to conclude this historic agreement. 

We also commend the FARC for its commitment to peace through the long period of negotiations. And we congratulate and thank Cuba and Norway, as well as Chile and Venezuela, for their vital roles in steering the peace process to its successful conclusion. 

The United Nations will play a crucial role in supporting the effective implementation of Colombia’s peace agreement.

By adopting today’s resolution, endorsing the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a Special Political Mission to assist with monitoring and verifying the agreed ceasefire and laying down of arms, this Council is ensuring it plays its part in helping to secure a better future for Colombia. It is only appropriate that this Council should play its part in these efforts.

We hope the activities of the Special Political Mission can help give confidence to all sides that key elements of the agreement are being faithfully and effectively implemented.

The Security Council’s response to Colombia’s request for assistance also represents an unusual and positive model for how the Council can and should interact with conflict affected states.

It is rare for a country to voluntarily approach the Security Council seeking its help. Colombia’s actions in doing so, and the Council’s responsiveness to its requests, swiftly and with due respect for its specific needs and situation, have provided an example of how constructive the relationship can be between this Council and the countries it seeks to assist.

New Zealand was pleased to co-sponsor this resolution today, and welcomes its unanimous adoption.

We recognise that challenges remain, and that there is a long road ahead to secure the peace that has been made. But with the commitment by all parties, we are confident that these obstacles can be overcome.

The Colombian people will have an opportunity to express their views on the peace agreement through the referendum on 2 October. We hope they will choose the path of peace.

New Zealand is also committed to supporting Colombia’s efforts to find lasting stability and reconciliation, and to ensuring that Colombia experiences an early peace dividend. That is why we have pledged to assist Colombia achieve its goal to become a landmine-free country by 2021.

Colombia will not face the road ahead alone. New Zealand, this Council, and the international community stand ready to help.