NEW YORK, 13th September, 2016 (WAM)–The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the UN Mission in Colombia, including the deployment of 450 unarmed observers and the establishment of operation in 40 locations.

The action – reflected in its unanimous adoption of resolution 2307 at a meeting on Tuesday morning – follows the adoption of an earlier resolution that established the UN political mission, as well as the agreements reached between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), including the 23 June pact on a ceasefire and a peace accord to end the 50-year conflict, which was signed on 24 August.

The Council said it “welcomes the Secretary-General’s report S/2016/729 and approves the recommendations therein regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the Mission.”

In the report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended 40 observers at the national level, 90 observers at the regional level and 320 observers at the local level, for a total of 450 observers. This was in addition to a number of civilians who will be deployed in the transitional local zones and other locations.

Ban recommended that the UN Mission operate in 40 widely dispersed locations: a national headquarters, eight regional headquarters and the 23 transitional local zones for normalization and eight transitional local points for normalization established under the ceasefire agreement.

The UN chief also recommended that “the Mission share with the Government the cost of activating and operating the mechanism, exclusive of government-provided security costs, in proportion to the number of United Nations observers and staff relative to the total number of mechanism personnel.”

The UN Mission in Colombia, headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Jean Arnault, was established through the Security Council resolution 2261, adopted in January 2016. The Mission is mandated to provide unarmed international observers to monitor and verify the laying down of arms, and be part of the tripartite mechanism that will monitor and verify the definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, following the signing of a peace agreement.

WAM/Majok