Colombian authorities, FARC-EP leader and Deputy Chief of Observers of the UN Mission in Colombia received members of the FARC in La Guajira
La Guajira, Colombia, February 1, 2017 -More than 200 men and women of the FARC-EP marched today to the Transitional Point of Normalization of Pondores, department of La Guajira, in northern Colombia, according to figures from tripartite Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, composed of the Government, the FARC-EP and coordinated by the UN Mission in Colombia.
Members of the FARC-EP—some of them pregnant or breastfeeding—walked about nine kilometers from four pre-grouping points near to the Pondores transitional point, where the FARC-EP camp will be located and where the separation of forces will take place, a task which the UN Mission in Colombia will verify.
The women and men marching today join more than 6,300 FARC-EP members who began mobilizing on Saturday, January 28 to zones and points using 36 travel routes in 14 departments of the country, according to preliminary figures from the Colombian Government's High Commissioner for Peace, on one of the largest logistics operations in the country.
FARC-EP members were received today at the Pondores site by High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo, FARC-EP leader Ivan Márquez, Colombian authorities and the Deputy Head of Observers of the UN Mission in Colombia José Mauricio Villacorta, in a symbolic act to highlight the parties commitment and the imminent start of the laying down of arms, which the UN Mission in Colombia will verify, to enable the transition to civilian life.
"This shows that we are bringing the agreement to reality," said High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo, noting that what will take place in the camp is not only about the laying down of arms, but also the transition to civilian life. "This is a moment of joy," he added.
"Something good is happening in Colombia: it's peace," said Iván Márquez, who headed the FARC-EP negotiating team in Havana. "Here we are to tell Colombia that the peace process is under way. This peace is irrepressible, unstoppable; let us go forward. "
"As a UN Mission, this moment is crucial because it means we will continue to verify the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities through our participation in the tripartite mechanism, and we will be able to begin the operational part of the verification of the laying down of arms. To date, we have focused on the planning and preparation phase so that the Mission can carry out the tasks of registering and storing weapons," said the Deputy Chief of UN Mission Observers in Colombia, General José Mauricio Villacorta.
Once FARC-EP members are in the camps the first step for the laying down of arms is the registration of arms and weapons. Unstable armaments—such as gunpowder, grenades and anti-personnel mines—will be destroyed in site. After 180 days, the UN Mission in Colombia removes all the weapons from the camp.