The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Thursday expressed his concern about an increase in war-related violence in Colombia following rebel group FARC‘s decision to lift its unilateral ceasefire.
In a statement, the UN chief’s spokesman said that “the Secretary-General is concerned by the current upsurge in fighting in Colombia following a welcome period of de-escalation in the armed conflict.”
Ban Ki-moon called on the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC “to resume the path toward de-escalation and accelerate the pace of the negotiations in order to restore momentum and public confidence in the process,” said the spokesman.
Violence has flared up since May 22 when, following an air strike that killed 26 guerrillas, the FARC suspended its unilateral ceasefire and began a major offensive, resulting in more than 150 attacks, most against oil and road infrastructure.
Combat between the military and the rebel group has since left more than a 1,000 displaced.
In spite of the set-back, the UN chief encouraged “the Colombian people to remain hopeful and to persist in the search for peace.”
Ban Ki-moon said he was “confident” that rebel and government negotiators “can overcome the current impasse and bring the process to a successful conclusion.”
Despite the recent uptick in violence in Colombia, negotiations between the government and the FARC continue in Havana, Cuba.
The rebels and the government have since the beginning of the talks in November 2012 signed partial agreements on political participation, rural reform and the FARC’s abandoning of drug trafficking.
Before an eventual deal to end more than 50 years of conflict is signed, the negotiating teams in Havana, Cuba will have to agree on two more agenda points: Victims and End of Conflict.
These negotiations have been slow as neither party seems to know how to adequately punish war crimes committed by both parties in the past five decades and how to compensate the more than 7 million victims of the violence.