(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

This Wednesday, January 11, Vice President Francia Márquez and Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva attended a session of the United Nations Security Council on the three-month report by the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Ambassador to the U.N., was one of those who spoke, giving a positive assessment of several actions by the Petro administration.

First of all, the Ambassador welcomed the two Colombian officials and emphasized the commitment of the United States to the implementation of the Peace Agreement signed in 2016. “We are entirely committed to support Colombia in this vital effort,” she said.

Pursuing the subject, Thomas-Greenfield pointed to four areas in which Colombia has made progress. However, she also spoke of “obstacles to peace that have to be attended to, urgently.”

Among the areas where work is needed, the Ambassador mentioned the production of drugs in Colombia’s countryside.

“The production of illegal drugs continues to stoke the violence in areas affected by the conflict. The United Nations Office Against Drugs and Crime reported record levels of coca plantings in 2021. Let’s be clear; all of the violent acts, whether attacks on the Armed Forces, on indigenous or Afro-Colombian communities, former combatants, human rights or environmental defenders, interfere with peace and progress,” declared Thomas-Greenfield.

Besides that, the Ambassador called out the Colombian authorities: “You have to take action to combat illegal drug production, reduce the violence, and make sure that the illegal armed groups respond.”

Progress celebrated by the United States

The Ambassador started out with the positive: “The United States salutes the commitment by the Petro administration to achieve the objectives of the ethnic chapter completely. We appreciate the leadership of Vice President Márquez in coordinating these efforts in alliance with the High Commissioner for Peace and Colombian government agencies, including the recently created Ministry of Equality.”

“Your election at this moment, Madame Vice President, is historic, and represents the commitment of the Petro administration to pay attention to this important problem,” she added.

She also pointed out that last October, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, promised to accompany the ethnic chapter of the Peace Agreement. Thomas-Greenfield stressed that the United States and Colombia “share” that vision of the recognition of Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations.

At the same time, the Ambassador said that the United States supports “efforts at rural reform” providing land to campesinos who have no place to carry out their activities. “We are encouraged by the significant increase in funds for the agricultural sector in the administration’s 2023 budget,” she said.

In the third place, she asserted that the North American country would continue to support the transitional justice system. Finally, she highlighted the efforts by Colombia to “broaden democratic political participation.”

“We mustn’t lose sight of the significance of seeing former combatants taking part in the political process,” she said.

Statement by Francia Márquez

Vice President Francia Márquez went over the 3-month report by the U.N. Verification Mission in a session of the Security Council. She focused her statement on her support for the administration’s “total peace” project, and on the international support of the peace processes that are being undertaken with the guerrillas, and on other submission processes with the criminal gangs.

“We insist on a ceasefire and on scenarios of dialog for all of the policy agreements that we need in order to have a safe and peaceful country,” the Vice President said to the representatives of other countries.

She said that the U.N. announcement of support for lengthening the term of the U.N. Mission of monitoring rural reform and the ethnic chapter in her country “is an international recognition of our commitment.”

She also asked the United Nations to continue supporting the dialogs by the Colombian government with different actors in the “total peace” project. In addition, that the U.N. conduct a session in Colombia.

“We invite you to conduct a United Nations session in Colombia with a goal of providing support for peace from the countryside, to get to know the landscape of the challenges that we confront every day,” was Márquez’ request in her speech.

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