UN Security Council to assess Colombia peace gains

May Day celebrations in Bogota

UN Security Council ambassadors travel to Colombia this week to take stock of progress in disarming FARC rebels ahead of the June 1 deadline to lay down all weapons.

Council envoys will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos and Ivan Marquez, the lead negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia(FARC), who signed a watershed deal last year to end South America's longest-running conflict.

During the three-day visit starting Wednesday, the council will press for quick implementation of the peace deal after some delays, exacerbated by the devastating mudslides last month.

"These processes always have problems," Uruguay's Ambassador Elbio Rosselli said Monday at a news conference ahead of the visit.

"We believe that the message that we want to give to the process is basically 'you have to keep going at it.'"

Under Colombia's peace deal, the FARC agreed to a 180-day timeline to complete disarming, which ends on June 1.

"The date for the so-called D+180 is still the target that both parties which to attain for this stage, particularly with regard to the 'dejacion de armas' -- the leaving of arms," said Rosselli.

Council envoys will visit one of three "transition zones" set up for FARC combatants to turn in their weapons under UN supervision and begin their return to the mainstream.

The United Nations set up a political mission in Colombia in January to help shore up the peace accord, led by Jean Arnault of France.

Arnault told the Security Council last month that 6,804 FARC combatants had moved into the disarmament camps along with 1,541 militia members.

The FARC launched its guerrilla war against the Colombian government in 1964, after a peasant uprising that was crushed by the army.

The conflict has killed 260,000 people, displaced nearly seven million and left 60,000 missing, according to official estimates.

Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for leading the effort to end the conflict, in the face of fierce resistance from his political opponents.