|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Colombia|
I thank Special Representative Massieu for his briefing. I warmly welcome the presence of President Iván Duque at today’s meeting.
China commends the Government of Colombia led by President Duque and other relevant parties for their efforts in implementing the peace agreement. China welcomes the positive progress made in the peace process over the past five years. Colombia held its congressional elections last month. Special electoral districts for peace in rural conflict-affected areas were established with 16 seats in the House of Representatives. This is of a milestone significance. According to the Secretary-General’s report, more than 10,000 former combatants have been reintegrated with full support and tens of thousands of rural families are gradually abandoning illegal crop cultivation. The number of former combatants who join the productive projects is on a steady rise. These achievements should be treasured.
The Colombian peace process has set an example of ending the conflict and building peace through dialogues and negotiations. The peace agreement embodies the common aspiration of the Colombian people for lasting peace and development, and will play an irreplaceable and important role in achieving long-term national stability and regional peace and stability. Colombia will hold its presidential election in May this year. It is our hope that the new government will continue to fully implement the peace agreement, address the difficulties and challenges in the implementation of the agreement, and consolidate the gains made in the hard-won peace.
The full implementation of the peace agreement is a long-term and comprehensive process. There is still a long way to go to deepen and consolidate peace, and it requires all parties in Colombia and the international community to make relentless efforts. Since the beginning of this year, violent conflicts have intensified in many areas, including Arauca. Illegal armed groups seriously threaten the safety of former combatants and ethnic minorities. The process of reintegration of former combatants also suffered some setbacks. We believe that the Government and people of Colombia will be able to meet these challenges and fully, effectively implement the security provisions in the peace agreement, and strengthen the protection of former combatants, improve security and strengthen effective governance in former conflict areas. We are convinced that the Government of Columbia will accelerate the dismantling of illegal armed groups and criminal organizations, combat the recruitment of children by armed groups and give full play to the role of women and youths in peace-building.
Accelerating development is essential for consolidating peace dividends and ending violent conflicts. It is our hope that the Government of Colombia will overcome the challenges of current global crises in energy, food, and supply chain and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate land distribution and rural reforms, ensure the substitution of illicit crops be sustainable, expand basic social services in former conflict areas and promote balanced development in all regions. China supports Latin America in speeding up regional integration and hopes that regional countries will play an active role in supporting Colombia to fully tap its potential in development so as to eliminate the root causes for violent conflicts.
The peace process in Colombia is irreversible. This is a consensus shared by all walks of life in Colombia as well as the international community. We look forward to greater achievements of the Colombian Government and people in their state-building and development. China commends the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia for its important role in supporting the peace process. China hopes that the Mission will attach importance to the voices of the Colombian Government and people, strengthen coordination with the UN country team and continue to provide strong support for the full implementation of the peace agreement. China is ready to work with the international community and will respect the leading role of the Colombian Government and people in implementing the peace agreement and play its constructive role in Colombia’s journey to achieve comprehensive peace, stability and development.
I thank you, Madam President.