The situation in Angola Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) (S/1996/75)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Qin Huasun
|Mr. Lopes da Rosa
|Mr. Martínez Blanco
Republic of Korea
|Sir John Weston
Expression of sympathy to the Government and people of China
Expression of thanks to the retiring President
As this is the first meeting of the Security Council for the month of February, I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute, on behalf of the Council, to His Excellency Sir John Weston, KCMG, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations, for his service as President of the Security Council for the month of January 1996. I am sure I speak for all members of the Security Council in expressing deep appreciation to Ambassador Weston for the great diplomatic skill with which he conducted the Council’s business last month.
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Angola
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) (S/1996/75)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Angola, Brazil, Lesotho, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In accordance with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), document S/1996/75.
The first speaker is the representative of Angola, on whom I now call.
I would like to begin by congratulating you, Madam President, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Angola and on my own behalf, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. Your qualities as a diplomat and your long experience will, I am sure, help guide the Council’s deliberations during February.
I also congratulate the outgoing President, Ambassador Weston, on the wise and dynamic way in which he steered the Council’s work during his mandate.
I cannot neglect also to congratulate the new members of the Council — Chile, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Poland and the Republic of Korea — which earned the trust of the other members of the United Nations to help this important body solve the serious problems that continue to threaten international peace and security.
We have come a long way since the Angolan internal conflict was first included on the Council’s agenda. It has been a complex and difficult road; nevertheless, as never before, we are very close to the successful conclusion of a negotiated peace formula, and consequently of a definite settlement of the conflict.
In fact, the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol has entered its most decisive and most defining stage — unfortunately, not without difficulties, some of which were caused by non-compliance and violations on the part of UNITA; others obviously resulted from the very nature and complexity of the conflict and from the process of the practical implementation of the Agreement. We should not lose sight of the fact that the Lusaka Protocol has a broad scope, aiming not only to accomplish the effective cessation of military hostilities, but also, and above all, to reach a solution that will prevent a reversal of the process, as it calls for genuine national reconciliation, compliance with democratic rules and the establishment of a basis for the economic recovery and development of Angola.
The current meeting of the Security Council offers us an opportunity to make a global assessment of the status of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, and to discuss its progress and setbacks to it, as well as to find ways to boost this process.
It is undeniable that major, substantial progress has been made, the most significant aspect being the maintenance of the cease-fire one year after its signing. There remain obstacles to be removed, and without their removal it will not be possible to attain further progress.
The main issue is the question of the quartering of the UNITA military forces, their disarmament and demobilization within the framework of the Lusaka Protocol. The delays in this process are affecting the conclusion of the formation of a single national army, the integration of UNITA cadres into the national unity government and other activities related to the implementation of the Protocol.
My Government considers unfounded the repeated arguments presented by UNITA to justify excessive delay in the quartering of its troops, and demands unconditional fulfilment of the deadlines agreed upon.
In the same way, we would like this process to be as transparent as possible and entirely verified by UNAVEM III, in order to avoid any military forces or war matériel escaping the control of the United Nations, as was the case in the past, at the time of the implementation of the Bicesse Accords.
In addition, we are very concerned about the continued UNITA military activity in some regions of the country, in a pattern of military movement without prior notification to UNAVEM III and of isolated attacks and ambushes against civilian and military targets alike, almost always resulting in a loss of human life. We demand that an end be put once and for all to such activities, which, besides constituting a violation of the cease-fire, are undermining the climate of trust that is necessary for the successful development of the whole process.
The difficulties posed by UNITA regarding the free movement of people and goods in the areas that are still under its control are one of the other serious obstacles that the implementation of the Protocol is facing, because they hamper the free movement not only of Angolan citizens but also of UNAVEM III personnel, preventing them from performing their tasks under normal conditions. The prevalence of this situation could lead to serious deficiencies in the verification and monitoring work, with a negative impact on the whole process.
We also would like to call the attention of this Council to the human rights situation that exists in those UNITA-controlled areas, given the numerous cases of abuse reported by people who had to abandon those places. My Government, taking into account its responsibilities towards the people and the nation, cannot remain indifferent to this situation.
In spite of these obstacles, we believe that this is not the time for us, particularly the members of this Council, to fall into total scepticism and desperation. On the contrary, the Council should encourage the use of appropriate ways and means to remove such obstacles and make all the parties fulfil completely their responsibilities regarding the peace process.
In recent months a number of events have disrupted the progress of the process and, while not putting peace at risk, contributed to increasing the impatience of this Council and the international community. With a view to overcoming this imbroglio and to reviving the peace process from its lethargic state, the Government of Angola has taken significant and transcendent steps that have deservedly received the support of the international community.
Specifically, we returned the national army units to the closest barracks, especially in locations that are more vulnerable and susceptible to ready military involvement. We confined the rapid-reaction police to barracks under the supervision of UNAVEM III. As a gesture of flexibility, we decided to end the agreement between the South African company Executive Outcomes, whose sole mission was to train specialists in our young army and to perform security services. All of its personnel have been repatriated in an operation supervised by UNAVEM III. We freed unconditionally all UNITA prisoners of war — a total of 350 people — although UNITA has not yet done the same, thus displaying an attitude that is totally unacceptable and calls for urgent action on the part of this Council and UNAVEM III in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
I must also inform the Council that UNITA’s guaranteed leadership positions in the Angolan Armed Forces as soon as the quartering and subsequent integration of approximately 30,000 UNITA military personnel into the Angolan Armed Forces are completed. Personnel from UNITA and the Government in excess of the military needs of the future Armed Forces will be incorporated into a so-called fourth branch of the Armed Forces. For approximately three years, this organization will enjoy a paramilitary status, while providing technical and professional instruction to its members. This will allow their gradual and progressive integration into civil society. The procedure avoids the creation of an army of abandoned soldiers and all the inconveniences that would represent for Angolan society. These demobilized personnel will be involved in national reconstruction brigades and will receive a salary that will increase over the three-year period.
In addition to these steps, we have tried to reinforce our political dialogue with the UNITA leadership, including at the highest level, with some encouraging results. One example of that was the recent initiative by my Government to hold a fourth meeting between the President of the Republic and the leader of UNITA. We want to believe that such results will permit us to overcome rapidly the obstacles that still exist and help build mutual trust and confidence.
Such action calls for a responsible, firm position, justified by our commitment based on the Accords, to a rapid solution to the crisis created by UNITA in 1992 after the elections in my country. My Government will continue to make every possible effort to reaffirm more and more the irreversible character of the pacification process in Angola, while remaining aware that its success ultimately depends on the Angolans. But, at the same time, we will demand that UNITA fulfil completely its obligations and that it do so in good faith, moving from promises to real action.
We Angolans interpret the extension of the UNAVEM III mandate as a vote of confidence by the international community with regard to the re-establishment of peace in Angola. In our opinion, the new term of the mandate should be reasonable and appropriate for the accomplishment of the main tasks required by the Protocol, particularly those that are being excessively delayed. As the new mandate begins, it is imperative that non-compliance and unjustified delays be prevented and that those responsible for them be held accountable.
The priority given on the agenda of this Council to the question of Angola, in Africa, where the United Nations is currently carrying out one of the largest peace operations in its history, along with the deployment of occasional missions to monitor the development in the field of the process, certainly facilitates the taking of rapid action whenever the situation requires. As an example, we cite the positive outcome of the recent visit to Angola of Ambassador Madeleine Albright and, in the recent past, by His Excellency Mr. Ismat Kittani and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, since those visits very much helped push the implementation of the Bicesse Accords.
The question of humanitarian assistance should also be the object of special attention during the new mandate. The Secretary-General’s report is clear enough when it blames UNITA for the difficulties raised regarding the distribution of emergency humanitarian aid in the areas under its control, where it should reach the segment of the population most affected by the war.
As my Government has stated to this Council on the appropriate occasions, there continue to be violations by the Government of the neighbouring Republic of Zaire of the clause contained in resolution 864 (1993) that prohibits the supply of military or any other assistance to UNITA.
The Government of Zaire, in a clear challenge to the authority of this Council, continues to serve as a base for the UNITA planes that violate Angolan airspace and land clandestinely in areas under its control to obtain supplies of lethal matériel. We hope that this Council, and the Sanctions Committee in particular, will adopt urgent and effective measures to discourage Zaire from engaging in such behaviour, which can only contribute to increasing the obstacles to the implementation of the Accords and which constitute gross interference in the internal affairs of my country.
My Government is optimistic regarding the success of the peace process and reaffirms its commitment to continuing its efforts in a spirit of flexibility and with the goal of reconciliation for all Angolans, so that peace and stability can be a reality in Angola in the short term.
We appeal to UNITA to heed this call of the Angolan people, which for 30 years has been the victim of war, destruction and suffering. We reaffirm here our willingness to continue to render our full cooperation during this mandate, for the sake of the success of UNAVEM’s mission.
To conclude, I would like to express the gratitude of the people and the Government of Angola for the personal commitment to peace in Angola shown by the Secretary-General, his Special Representative to Angola and the troika of observer countries. This acknowledgement goes also to all the Governments that have agreed to provide troops and observers for contingents of UNAVEM III.
We pay tribute to the Brazilian soldiers, Mr. Paulo César de Sousa Nascimento and Mr. Cláudio Milson dos Santos, who passed away in the service of peace in my country.
We also thank all Governments, specialized agencies of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations for the generous assistance they have provided to the Angolan civilian population, which has been a victim of the effects of the war.
As to the draft resolution that the Security Council will be considering, my Government endorses all positive steps consistent with the present situation concerning the peace process in my country.
I wish to begin, Madam, by expressing our compliments to you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February. I have no doubt that, under your experienced, dynamic and skilled leadership, the Council’s work this month will be effective and exemplary. I wish also to express my sincere admiration to your predecessor, Sir John Weston, for his outstanding contribution to our work in the month of January.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Malta and Latvia associate themselves with this statement.
We wish first of all to thank the Secretary-General for his thorough report on the peace process and on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). It is clear that the peace process is at a turning-point. It is up to the Angolan parties to demonstrate whether the new direction will be a positive one.
As the Secretary-General points out in his report, the peace process has been moving at a disappointingly slow pace and is still fragile. To strengthen it and make it irreversible, good-faith cooperation between the parties will be the primary ingredient.
The European Union welcomes the commitment recently undertaken both by the Government and by the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) on a new timetable to move the peace process forward. The Union is also encouraged by the steps taken so far in this direction, especially by the Government of Angola, and urges both parties to increase cooperation on important aspects of the peace agreement, such as the formation of the joint armed forces.
It now appears essential that UNITA confirm its recent pledge to accelerate the quartering of its troops, which has not yet reached significant levels. Yesterday, we were informed by the Secretariat that only 3,659 soldiers out of the 16,500 to be demobilized by 8 February were present in the quartering areas. Failure in this essential task could indeed jeopardize the entire peace process and have an adverse effect on the support the international community has shown so far.
The European Union notes with satisfaction the steps taken by the Government of Angola in the implementation of the peace process, including withdrawing its forces and starting the quartering of its rapid reaction police. The Government must now speed up compliance with these commitments.
Delays in demining activities raise serious concerns, as do reports that efforts of the Angolan parties in this area continue to be minimal. Demining has a strong humanitarian significance, because of the intense suffering land mines impose on innocent civilian populations, especially children. Demining will also allow the resumption of productive activities, thus increasing the gradual return to normal conditions of life throughout the country.
The European Union is equally concerned over the further deterioration of the Angolan economy, which is partly a result of complex post-war problems, but which also reflects the Government’s difficulty in implementing effective stabilization measures and necessary reforms. It notes that without a strong stabilization policy it will not be possible to establish the basis for reconstruction and for social and economic development.
The continued seriousness of the security situation and persisting obstacles to humanitarian activities throughout Angola are quite disturbing. Both parties should facilitate and ensure the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The European Union and its member States will continue to make assistance available to the Angolan population, provided that security conditions improve.
The European Union stresses the importance of international support for the peace process in Angola, and underlines the stabilizing role of UNAVEM III in the current fragile situation. The Union reaffirms its strong support for the operation. It is crucial that UNAVEM III operate as efficiently as possible, and that due consideration be given to the security of its personnel.
Recently, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to signal to the parties the growing impatience of the international community — which has responded generously to the appeals for financing the rehabilitation of the country — and the need to make real, concrete progress in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
The European Union remains committed to the Angolan peace process, and is undertaking démarches with both the Government and UNITA to urge them to make further, and rapid, progress in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, and towards peace.
First allow me to congratulate you, Madam President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month of February. We are convinced that, given your great skill and experience, the work of the Council under your leadership will be successful. My delegation offers you its full cooperation towards this end.
I also wish to congratulate your predecessor, Sir John Weston, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, on the exceptional work he and his delegation accomplished during January.
My delegation is grateful to the Secretary-General for his report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), dated 31 January of this year, which shows that the situation in Angola has not changed significantly and that the peace process continues its slow pace.
The initiatives of the Government of Angola in fulfilment of its commitments — especially those related to the release of prisoners, the repatriation of mercenaries, the withdrawal of government troops from the vicinity of the UNITA quartering areas and the initiation of the quartering of the rapid reaction police — have not received the hoped-for response from UNITA, which still displays a lack of action regarding implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
In spite of the fact that the Government of Angola has adopted these measures, and that there have been other events that are positive for the peace process, such as the formulation and acceptance of a new timetable for implementation of the understandings reached by the parties last December, UNITA has still not taken concrete measures allowing for the resumption of the peace process — in particular, measures regarding the quartering of its troops.
Although cease-fire violations have continued, as a result of small-scale attacks or acts of banditry, we regard as an important step the parties’ agreement in January to establish a “conflict prevention group” of high-ranking military representatives to avoid major violations. At the same time, we regret the fact that the parties are not cooperating in mine-clearance activities and the reconstruction of access roads and bridges, whose neglect affects the peace process in Angola. The process is also affected by the fact that the disarmament of the civilian population has not begun, that the human rights situation is not improving and that the free movement of persons throughout the country is impeded.
My delegation believes it is imperative that the Angolan parties comply with the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol as soon as possible. We remind them that for lasting peace in Angola to be achieved they must resume the quartering of their troops as soon as possible and refrain from any military activity that could increase tensions. It is vital that the talks continue without interruption. It is necessary that negotiations continue on the structure of the joint armed forces, a fundamental aspect of the process of national reconciliation. They must also implement without delay the plan for the separation of forces prepared by UNAVEM; take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of the staff of the Verification Mission; and cooperate with the humanitarian organizations, facilitating their work and offering their staff sufficient security assurances. On this last point, my delegation takes note of UNITA’s public statement on 1 January this year in which it pledged to respect the integrity of the staff of humanitarian organizations and to protect their property.
It is clear that many tasks remain uncompleted in the Angola peace process, but, as the Council has repeatedly underscored, peace and security in Angola are in the final analysis the responsibility of the Angolans themselves. It is they who must display firm political will by adopting concrete measures in support of the peace process. The role of the international community is to help them in that task. We believe that UNAVEM III should continue to support them in so far as that will for peace exists, and we would therefore agree to extending its mandate.
On behalf of my delegation, I too would like to congratulate you, Madam President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We have full confidence in your leadership, and are convinced that your great skill will serve you well in conducting our business and will serve us well; we will profit from it.
We also wish to commend your predecessor, Sir John Weston, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, for the way in which he effectively and resourcefully led the Council’s business last month.
My Government is extremely pleased that we again have the occasion to deal with a matter before the Security Council in this open forum and to hear the point of view of all interested Member States. This discussion on the situation in Angola and on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) should enhance the transparency of our work and provide valuable input. In this context, Germany fully supports the statement Italy has just made on behalf of the European Union. Let me also thank the Secretary-General for his valuable report, which is the basis of our deliberations.
At the outset, both parties in Angola have to be reminded that the inconsistent pace of the peace process in recent months has given rise to some doubts as to the will for peace on both sides. The parties must know that the international community expects them to do their utmost in order to consolidate peace in Angola. I am sure there will be no United Nations peace-keeping operation in Angola after February 1997.
At the same time, we recognize that the Angolan Government has in recent months made greater efforts to fulfil its obligations arising from the Lusaka Protocol. We welcome, in particular, the withdrawal of government forces from advanced positions, the beginning of the quartering of its rapid reaction police and the release of all registered prisoners. We call on the Angolan Government to continue in this vein, and we appeal to UNITA to renew its efforts to meet its obligations as well.
Following recent setbacks and the deterioration of mutual trust, we support any confidence-building measures that may restore the climate of confidence. A further meeting between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi in the near future may be a first step towards renewed trust.
Germany calls on the Angolan Government and UNITA to adhere to the Lusaka Protocol and to the timetable agreed upon on 12 January 1996 by both parties regarding the implementation of their obligations. These include, in particular, strict adherence to the cease-fire agreement; ending all hostile actions and human rights violations; beginning coordinated demining activities; and refraining from obstructing or endangering UNAVEM III troops or humanitarian deliveries. In this context, it is very important that UNAVEM III radio be given access to the air waves.
Also, further efforts must be made to integrate UNITA contingents into the national army. UNITA personnel must also participate in the country’s administration. At this point in the peace process, however, it is important for UNITA to understand that any further progress will depend on its willingness to keep step with the Government and to make the appropriate efforts to implement the Lusaka Protocol. The international community will not understand any further delay in the quartering process. UNITA promised to quarter 16,500 troops by 8 February 1996. Mr. Savimbi repeated this pledge on the occasion of your visit, Madam President, to Angola. Fulfilment of this pledge by the promised date will be proof of UNITA’s political will to move towards peace: this is a cornerstone of the peace process. In addition, UNITA must release all prisoners.
Angola will be dependent on international assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of its national economy. It must be made clear, however, that such assistance will be forthcoming only if both parties provide concrete proof of their will for peace: they must meet their obligations under the Lusaka agreement and respect the agreed timetable for its implementation.
Finally, I should like to express my country’s concern about UNAVEM’s financial situation. In his report, the Secretary-General points out that $26.4 million in assessed contributions to UNAVEM remained outstanding at the end of last year. This situation constitutes a serious threat to UNAVEM’s ability to carry out its mandate; I shall not dwell on peace-keeping operations in general, which are being severely compromised by the lack of funds resulting from unpaid contributions. It is of the utmost importance that all Member States pay their assessed contributions in full and on time.
Madam President, please allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council this month. I am convinced that, given your outstanding talent and rich diplomatic experience, you will guide the Council’s work this month to success.
I also wish to express gratitude for the condolences expressed to China for the loss of life in the earthquake there.
I should also like to take this opportunity to thank your predecessor, His Excellency Ambassador Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom, for his outstanding contribution to the complete success of the Council’s work last month.
The open debate on the question of Angola in the Council today demonstrates the Council’s determination to further support the peace process in Angola and the international community’s readiness to make further efforts for the restoration of peace and stability there. The Chinese Government fully endorses these objectives.
The Angolan people have suffered the scourge of war for 20 long years now. Despite assistance from the international community, Angola must, in the final analysis, rely on its own unremitting efforts if it is to close the book on its painful past and be able to enjoy peace and tranquillity again.
The Angolan peace process is now at a critical point: the Angolan Government and UNITA agreed not long ago upon a new timetable, and the Angolan Government has taken encouraging initiatives in quartering its forces and releasing prisoners of war. At the same time, however, progress in the Angolan peace process is still very slow: implementation of the Lusaka Protocol has been repeatedly postponed; the two sides still lack mutual trust and political will; and no further meetings have yet taken place between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi. A ship sailing against the current must forge ahead or it will be driven backwards; now the two sides, particularly UNITA, must make concerted efforts so that the ship of the peace process is not driven onto the rocks, and can sail on to success.
The Chinese delegation is of the view that negotiation and dialogue remain the only way for Angola to resolve differences and achieve national reconciliation. We therefore hope that the two sides, particularly UNITA, will honour their commitments and, taking into account the national interest, cooperate with the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and implement comprehensively the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant resolutions of the Council so as to create conditions in which progress can be made in the peace process and national reconciliation can be achieved.
In finding a solution to the question of Angola, we must also attach importance and give support to the role of the Organization of African Unity and Angola’s neighbouring countries.
The Chinese Government has at all times firmly supported the peace process in Angola and has sympathized deeply with the Angolan people for their sufferings resulting from the war. It is in this spirit that the Chinese Government has provided Angola with humanitarian assistance and production facilities. We will continue to make our contribution, together with the international community, to peace and stability in Angola.
I thank the representative of China for his kind words addressed to me.
I should like to inform the Council that I have just received a letter from the representative of Malawi in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
Let me begin, Madam President, by extending to you my delegation’s sincere congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February. We are confident that under your presidency the Council is in good hands. I also wish to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Sir John Weston, for his efficient and successful conduct of the business of the Council during January.
We appreciate the President’s initiative to hold this open orientation debate on the situation in Angola. We are sure that this kind of debate on key issues of common interest to the Member States will contribute to enhancing the transparency of the Security Council’s work. We also highly commend the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III).
We pay tribute to UNAVEM III for the indispensable role it has played in consolidating peace and stability in Angola since its inception one year ago. My delegation expresses its appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Organization of African Unity, the Joint Commission and the three observer States for their efforts to assist and facilitate the process of national reconciliation in Angola.
The Republic of Korea is strongly committed to the achievement of lasting peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Angola. This commitment is evidenced by the participation in UNAVEM III of an army engineering unit from my country.
When this Council presided over the inauguration of UNAVEM III one year ago, it was unanimously welcomed. This initial jubilation at the long-awaited conclusion of the Lusaka Protocol gave way to a more sober mood as the Angolan parties entered the stage of grappling with the practical difficulties of implementing the Protocol. The frequent breaches of the cease-fire, delays in the quartering and disarming of UNITA troops and many other problems referred to in the Secretary-General’s report have resulted in a serious setback for the peace process. We express our disappointment at the lack of progress in the implementation of the Protocol.
None the less, in the positive new developments referred to in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Secretary-General’s report we see chances of moving the peace process forward. The agreement between the Angolan Government and UNITA on 21 December last to resume fulfilling their respective obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and the subsequent agreement on a new timetable for implementation have put the stalled peace process back on the right track.
The steps taken by the Angolan Government in the last few weeks to implement its obligations under the Protocol are encouraging. We welcome in particular the start of the quartering of the rapid-reaction police and the release of all registered prisoners by the Government of Angola. We encourage the Angolan Government to continue its efforts in good faith towards implementation of its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, and we urge UNITA to reciprocate by fulfilling its share of obligations under the Lusaka Protocol.
The peace process in Angola now stands at a very critical juncture. Its future hinges on the successful completion of the most immediate task, that of quartering UNITA troops. In this regard, we note Mr. Savimbi’s commitment to complete the quartering of 16,500 UNITA troops by 8 February. The fulfilment of Mr. Savimbi’s pledge will be the test of UNITA’s sincerity and political will to abide by the Lusaka Protocol. We sincerely hope that Mr. Savimbi’s commitment will become a reality within the next few days. We also call upon UNITA to release all remaining prisoners without further delay.
We believe that the deep-seated mutual distrust between the two parties lies at the heart of the problems impeding the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. In this context, we urge President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi to engage in serious political dialogue with a view to achieving national reconciliation based on mutual confidence, respect and tolerance.
It must not be forgotten that the ultimate responsibility for bringing lasting peace and stability to Angola rests with the Angolan parties themselves. The international community’s assistance can succeed only when the Angolan parties have the political will to help themselves.
In conclusion, we call upon the Government of Angola and UNITA to cooperate fully with UNAVEM III for the successful implementation of its mandate.
I thank the representative of the Republic of Korea for his kind words addressed to me.
Since this is the first statement by a representative of the Russian Federation at a meeting of the Security Council in February 1996, I should like to congratulate you, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month. I should like also to express our gratitude to the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom for his successful leadership of the work of the Council last month.
The Russian Federation, which is a member of the troika of observer States to the Angolan settlement, is deeply concerned by the woefully slow pace of the peace process in Angola and the continued drastic delays in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. During the last few months, the peace process has gone through a period of terrible crisis, requiring the most energetic efforts of the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, the troika of observer States, the Security Council and other interested parties in order to overcome it.
The major reason for the crisis is the obstruction of the peace process by UNITA, whose leadership, under various pretences, is continuing to evade implementation of the priority provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, first and foremost the previously agreed timetable for the quartering and disarmament of troops, thus hindering the normal activity of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), against which it has even launched a propaganda campaign. All of this has substantially complicated the situation in the country and has brought the peace process to the point of breakdown.
We believe it is time for the international community to draw the appropriate lessons from this bitter experience and to stop accepting UNITA’s inconsistency and endless manoeuvring vis-à-vis the resolution of a set of military issues. This is particularly important in the light of the fact that the present policy of UNITA’s leadership recalls to a great extent its actions at the end of 1992, when it provoked the breakdown of the Bicesse agreements and the resumption of a bitter civil war.
In the view of the Russian delegation, it is now important to focus on forcing the leadership of UNITA to comply unswervingly with its commitments under the Lusaka Protocol, in particular regarding the quartering and disarmament of troops. We agree with the idea contained in the report of the United Nations Secretary-General on Angola (S/1996/75) that this process must not be a rushed, last-minute operation but must be implemented dynamically, on a large scale and with appropriate verification by UNAVEM III. It is extremely important that at the UNITA quartering points there be real soldiers, with real weapons, and not unarmed youths, as was the case on several earlier occasions and, unfortunately, continues to be the case now. We believe that the UNITA leadership can have no justification for further procrastination in the release of all prisoners, in providing the United Nations with information on military questions and in ensuring freedom of movement for people and goods throughout the territory of the country.
The UNITA leadership must finally recognize that the time has come to reaffirm through concrete action the promises it has made and to cooperate honestly and fully with UNAVEM III; otherwise, it is likely to lose once and for all the confidence of the entire international community.
At the same time, we note with satisfaction the constructive steps taken by the Government of Angola in recent weeks to strengthen the peace process. These actions, in our view, deserve full encouragement from the international community.
We are firmly convinced that the success of a political settlement hinges first and foremost on the concrete actions of the Angolan parties. We call on them to take decisive steps to make the peace process irreversible.
For its part, the international community is rendering them great assistance and support. Our country, as a member of the troika and as a troop contributor to UNAVEM III, is making a significant contribution to the Angolan peace settlement. In the framework of these efforts, on 4 February the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Kolokolov, went to Angola and gave the leaders of both Angolan parties personal messages from the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Boris Yeltsin, and is continuing active contacts with them to accelerate the peace process in Angola.
I thank the representative of the Russian Federation for his kind words addressed to me.
Let me first join others in welcoming you, Madam President, to the presidency; no one can say that with a greater sense of relief than the outgoing President. You have all our confidence and support in the month ahead.
I would also like to thank you, and others, for the more than generous words of appreciation addressed to the United Kingdom for our stint during the month of January.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). I would also like to pay tribute to the work of his Special Representative, Mr. Beye, to the three observer States to the Angolan peace process and to the men and women of UNAVEM III who are doing so much to support the peace process in challenging conditions.
UNAVEM III is now mid-way through the two-year mission envisaged for it in this Council’s resolution 976 (1995). During that time the United Nations has made a heavy commitment to supporting the peace process. Over 37 different States have contributed staff to UNAVEM to construct quartering sites, clear roads of life-threatening mines and to repair the roads, to raise the standards of civilian police work, and to promote respect for human rights.
This has been a truly international effort, and it is a source of particular satisfaction to the British Government that a British logistics battalion played a major part in establishing the infrastructure for these tasks.
The British Government has also helped directly through the provision of humanitarian assistance, rendered vital to Angola by the prolongation of the conflict and then by delays in implementation of the peace accords. As of today the total value of such assistance by the British Government to Angola was £40 million over the last three years. I say this in order to underline the commitment of my country to assisting Angola.
My second point, however, is that Angolans must help themselves. We look to both parties now to stand by the commitments they have entered into. We are concerned that, one year into the mission of UNAVEM III, there are still major elements of the Lusaka Protocol which have yet to be implemented. The plain fact is that the international community cannot support indefinitely a peace process which is not fully supported by the parties themselves.
We are particularly concerned about the slow pace of quartering of UNITA troops. While we understand that approximately 5,000 troops have now reported to the quartering areas, this is a crucial component of the peace process and it still has yet really to begin in earnest. There will be no excuse if UNITA fails to quarter 16,500 troops by 8 February as Mr. Savimbi publicly promised you, Madam President, during your visit to Angola in January this year.
Against that, we are pleased to note one or two encouraging signs over the last few weeks. On 9 January a new timetable for implementing the peace process was agreed and we urge both parties to stick to it. We welcome the positive steps which the Government of Angola has taken to implement its commitments by withdrawing its troops from offensive positions, and by beginning to quarter its rapid reaction police. It is also encouraging that the Government has reportedly released all prisoners in its control. UNITA must follow suit. We expect that mercenaries will now be repatriated promptly, as the Government has promised. Similarly, we expect that the agreement on integrating UNITA troops into the Angolan armed forces will be implemented.
I would like to make two further points — the first a particular one, the second of more general application. First, the need for peace-keeping operations such as UNAVEM III to have their own broadcasting capability, to put across an impartial message to all concerned in their area of activity, is now widely accepted. We are disappointed that UNAVEM III radio is not yet properly established, despite the Security Council’s repeated calls to the Government of Angola on the subject. We hope that the Council’s message on this will now be heeded, and that the Angolan Government will grant the necessary facilities to allow it to operate.
Secondly, financial arrears continue to build up in UNAVEM III’s account, and in peace-keeping operations more generally. If peace-keeping operations are to be enabled to fulfil their mandates they must receive funds in full and on time. The operation which we are discussing today is crucial to the restoration of peace and stability to a war-torn country. Conflict in Angola has posed a threat to peace and security more widely in southern Africa. It would be a tragedy if this United Nations Mission were to fail because of lack of commitment by one of the parties. It would also be a tragedy if it failed because the United Nations had run out of money for it.
Allow me first to express our sincere gratitude to Sir John Weston and his entire team for his presidency during the month of January. To you, Madam President, the French delegation extends its compliments and assurances of support during your presidency this month.
Angola has been experiencing, as we near the end of the century, one of the most bloody conflicts on the planet. We recall the Secretary-General telling us two years ago, when the press was focusing its attention on other continents, that nearly a thousand persons a day, including women and children, were dying in Angola. This was taking place in a country which, moreover, had the reputation of being the most heavily mined in the world.
The peace Agreement signed in Lusaka on 15 November 1994 put an end to the war. The two parties committed themselves to the implementation of a complex process aimed at restoring peace and democracy and allowing Angola to resume its path towards development and progress.
The international community, and in particular the Security Council, have given continual attention to the situation in Angola. We have committed ourselves to fully supporting the peace process agreed upon by President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, sending what has become the biggest peace-keeping operation in Africa — nearly 7,000 men, to whose work we pay tribute, with a comprehensive mandate. For their part, the donors have committed themselves to providing significant assistance to the Angolans.
Angola therefore has everything needed to succeed today. The French Government hopes — here I note that it wishes to associate itself fully with the views expressed here by the Presidency of the European Union — that the will to do so will not be lacking. There is good reason for concern over the lack of progress in implementing the peace process described by the Secretary-General in the report before us today, although it is natural in our view that after 20 years of war a certain distrust between the belligerents continues.
The French Government was concerned by events at the end of last year which led to an increase in tension between the Government of Angola and UNITA. We take note of the new commitments undertaken by the two parties and expect them to be scrupulously respected. The French Government has also noted that the authorities in Luanda have since tried to demonstrate good will by implementing certain fundamental points of the peace Agreement: the withdrawal of troops from offensive positions near UNITA quartering areas, the release of prisoners, the beginning of quartering of the rapid reaction police, the cessation of hostile propaganda and the cancellation of contracts of expatriate personnel.
As to UNITA, we take note of the encouraging progress made in the past 24 hours on the quartering of its troops. Efforts remain to be made, however, by all sides in this field. UNITA in particular must no longer hinder the quartering process and must continue the operation to its end, as rapidly as possible. France believes that it is not acceptable for UNITA to refuse to cooperate with UNAVEM III in concluding the task of quartering, which we feel to be absolutely essential.
Moreover, there are reasons to welcome the signing of an agreement defining the level of UNITA’s participation in the new Angolan Armed Forces. But such an agreement will have no effect if the troops of Mr. Savimbi do not first allow themselves to be disarmed and quartered and if, on the other hand, the government forces do not withdraw far enough from the assembly zones and if they seek to take advantage of UNITA’s disarmament. It should also be noted that security will not be fully restored in Angola until the programme for disarming the civil population has been concluded in accordance with the peace agreements. To date, this programme has not even begun to be implemented.
The United Nations led an operation in Mozambique which was crowned with success. In Somalia, it experienced failure in conditions of which we are all aware. In both cases, success or failure depended on the implementation of measures to disarm the parties. The same will be true in Angola. The disarmament of the civilian population and the combatants, their assembly in specific zones, their reintegration into civilian life and, finally, the establishment of a new national army are all, along with the gradual establishment of a political system based on national reconciliation, at the heart of the process and the guarantees of its success.
The parties here must therefore do what is required to restore mutual confidence. They must demonstrate maturity and responsibility in order to build their future on stable foundations in accordance with democratic principles. If those conditions are met the international community will be able to lend its full support to the country’s recovery and Angola will resume its proper place on the African continent.
For all these reasons, France believes that the international community must remain vigilant. We feel that extending UNAVEM III’s mandate for six months might not send a sufficiently clear signal from the Council. We would therefore prefer that the mandate of the United Nations operation be renewed for three months, thus allowing the Security Council to re-examine the situation by 8 May, particularly regarding progress made in the disarmament and quartering of troops.
May I begin by congratulating you, Madam President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of February. We are confident that, with your wide experience, diplomatic skills and commitment, you will successfully lead the work of this body. Let me assure you of the full cooperation and support of the Polish delegation.
I should also like to pay tribute to Ambassador Sir John Weston for the remarkably efficient and effective manner in which he presided over the Council in the month of January.
I wish to point out that Poland fully supports the statement made by the representative of Italy on behalf of the European Union.
The Polish delegation is grateful to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and detailed report on Angola. Our thanks go also to his Special Representative, Mr. Blondin Beye.
We have to note with regret that the information on the situation in Angola contained in the report of the Secretary-General and in what you, Madam President, brought back to the Council from your visit to Angola, increases our concern and calls for deepened and serious reflection on the future of the United Nations involvement in Angola.
A year ago, in its resolution 976 (1995), the Council declared its intention to conclude the mission of UNAVEM III once the objectives of the Lusaka Protocol had been achieved in accordance with the schedule attached to it. The Council also expressed its expectation that this process would be completed by February 1997. As a consequence of the recent serious setbacks in the peace process, the parties have changed the original schedule. The January 1996 agreement on a new timetable is in our view a welcome development, although, given the parties’ past performance, much more than mere declarations are needed now. Indeed, the very future of the peace process in Angola, as well as the continuing involvement of the international community, are contingent upon the parties’ willingness and ability to resume the implementation of their obligations.
In the first place, the serious delay in the process of troop-quartering has to be made up for and the relevant agreements have to be fully implemented. UNITA is the primary addressee in this regard.
Since the quartering of UNITA troops constitutes one of the central elements of the peace process, we are particularly concerned at the protracted delays on the part of UNITA in seriously embarking on a large-scale, uninterrupted and verifiable quartering of its troops in accordance with the newly agreed timetable. According to current UNAVEM III reports, as of yesterday morning there were only about 3,600 UNITA troops registered — rather than the 16,500 declared by Mr. Savimbi — to report to the quartering areas by 8 February. We are alarmed by the failure of UNITA to extend its full cooperation to UNAVEM III in the Mission’s task of assisting the quartering process. The reported illegal removal by UNITA of 800 tents from the quartering centres only adds to this picture. Let me also stress that the credibility of UNITA will not be enhanced by its providing unarmed civilians instead of soldiers to the quartering areas.
We also notice that UNITA has failed to release all prisoners registered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, as stipulated by relevant agreements.
In falling so significantly behind the agreed schedule, UNITA jeopardizes the whole peace process in Angola and in fact the future of that country. We must not lose sight of the fact that the enduring tensions in Angola have been increasingly threatening the civilian population and have seriously limited the possibilities of humanitarian assistance.
We expect the Security Council to closely monitor the implementation of the understandings reached at the meeting of a government delegation with UNITA leaders in Bailundo on 21 December, 1995, as well as the fulfilment of the promises to resume UNITA troop-quartering made recently by Mr. Savimbi. Further delay in taking appropriate action will certainly affect the position of the international community on the situation in Angola and consequently may lead to consideration of United Nations withdrawal from that country.
Having said this, the Polish delegation is still of the view that at this particular juncture the international community should continue its support for the peace process in Angola. However, the outcome of that process depends on the attitude of, and action by, the Angolans themselves, and in particular the UNITA members. All the outside world can do is to facilitate their endeavours. We expect that the current debate in the Security Council will provide us with the necessary guidance to address the situation in Angola in the most effective manner.
The delegation of Egypt congratulates you, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We are confident that your well-known diplomatic skills will enable you to discharge your responsibilities with full success. We wish also to convey our appreciation to your predecessor, Sir John Weston, and to the delegation of the United Kingdom for the distinguished way in which they conducted the business of the Security Council last month.
The Security Council’s consideration today of the situation in Angola reflects the great attention the international community is devoting to the crisis in our brother country of Africa. Over the past 20 years, the international community has supported efforts to restore peace to Angola with a view to putting an end to the longest of African civil wars and to replacing the suspicion and lack of cooperation that have marked relations between the parties concerned with coexistence, reconciliation and a readiness to make sacrifices for the sake of a single, unified homeland. Over the years, the aspirations of the international community in this regard have been confronted with many obstacles resulting from the persistence of the conflict, yet its political, economic and humanitarian support for Angola has never ceased.
My delegation has carefully read the report of the Secretary-General (S/1996/75) on the situation in Angola. We appreciate the efforts of the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), especially because they are carrying out their tasks in unstable and unfavourable conditions. The delegation of Egypt wishes to express its ongoing concern about the continuing tension and mistrust that are mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General; these have impeded the implementation of commitments undertaken by the two parties under the Lusaka Protocol, including the definitive cessation of all hostilities, the release of all prisoners, an end to hostile propaganda, the resumption of the quartering of troops of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), and the withdrawal of Government forces to the nearest barracks.
Here, we note in particular our heightened concern over the failure of UNITA to take the steps necessary to press the reconciliation process forward, sometimes on the pretext of threats to its forces in some regions, and sometimes on the pretext that UNAVEM III is not yet ready to continue its assistance in the quartering of troops.
The 12 January 1996 agreement, in which the two parties accepted a new timetable for the implementation of their earlier understandings, was an encouraging sign. Yet we take this opportunity to underline the importance of full compliance by both parties with all their commitments so that the efforts of the international community to establish peace and stability in Angola can continue in the same manner and with the same intensity.
We salute the Government of Angola for its decision as a good-will gesture to release all prisoners and to terminate its contracts with foreign experts working with the army. We call upon the Government to make arrangements for an independent United Nations radio station to begin broadcasting. We urge it to provide all necessary security guarantees for humanitarian assistance agencies and their personnel in order to ensure the continued and effective flow of assistance.
To UNITA and its leader, Mr. Savimbi, we say that the eyes of the world are on the UNITA leadership. We expect it to honour all its commitments, foremost among them the quartering and disarmament of combatants in accordance with the agreed timetables. Further, we call upon UNITA to accelerate the release of all prisoners, and to provide real security guarantees for the personnel of humanitarian assistance agencies, including by removing all restrictions on their freedom of movement in the areas under UNITA control. Finally, we call upon it to halt divisive radio broadcasts, which serve only to deepen the differences within the country.
Paragraph 17 of the report of the Secretary-General notes that demining and road and bridge rehabilitation are among the daunting tasks which affect many aspects of the peace process in Angola. There is no doubt that the civil war in Angola resulted in the indiscriminate laying of mines in many parts of the country. This problem is not confined to Angola; many third world States, including Egypt, face similar problems. All Angolans must cooperate with UNAVEM III in minimizing the consequences of this problem. In this connection, we pay tribute to UNAVEM III for establishing the Central Mine Action Training School and for training a number of instructors.
We hope that we shall soon see genuine progress, proving to the international community that the establishment of peace in Angola is no remote hope and constituting a new beginning for the reconstruction of the country and for the start of long-overdue economic development.
The delegation of Egypt supports the extension of the mandate of UNAVEM III in a manner that would enable it to discharge its tasks completely. It is our hope that we will receive periodic information and reports from the Secretary-General on developments in the situation in our brother African State.
On behalf of the delegation of Guinea-Bissau, I wish first of all to congratulate you sincerely, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February. Aware as we are of your skill and your mastery of international issues, we are convinced that your work will be successful. My delegation wishes to assure you of its complete cooperation as you carry out your tasks.
We also wish most sincerely to thank Ambassador Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom for the outstanding way in which he guided the work of the Council in January.
Regarding the question before the Council today, Guinea-Bissau wishes to thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/1996/75) on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). That report, which is the object of particular attention by my delegation, makes reference to a number of aspects of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol signed by the Government of Angola and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) with a view to restoring peace and national reconciliation in that country, which is a friend and brother of Guinea-Bissau and with which my country shares an age-old linguistic and cultural heritage and has excellent relations of cooperation and brotherhood.
The accidents and vicissitudes of history have written a common past for these two peoples. In the middle of the fifteenth century, two Portuguese navigators entered the African continent. Nunes Tristao reached the Gulf of Guinea in 1446 and Diogo Cao reached Angola by the River Congo in 1487. Since then, the force of historic events has forged a cultural relationship between these two peoples and has charted for them a common destiny, in space and in time, in the search for a new horizon.
More than 500 years later, armed struggle broke out as an act of cultural resistance against the colonial Power, in Angola in 1962 and in Guinea-Bissau in 1963, in order to attain independence and the emancipation for our respective peoples. Guinea-Bissau proclaimed its independence on 24 September 1973 and Angola on 11 November 1975, following the signing of the Alvor agreement.
Today, more than 30 years after this act of cultural resistance, another coincidence of history finds Guinea-Bissau among the members of the Security Council to debate the situation in Angola, which is still deprived of peace and calm.
There is no need for us to reaffirm at this stage the importance we attach to questions concerning Angola and how dedicated we are to everything concerning it, since on numerous occasions, in diverse circumstances, my country has shown its concern and has reiterated its willingness to search for a lasting peace in Angola. It is in this spirit that we have participated from the outset in several peace-keeping operations in Angola, and we reiterate our readiness to participate further if the need arises.
The slow pace of the implementation of the peace process in Angola is of serious concern to Guinea-Bissau. The lack of respect for the Lusaka Protocol, followed by the resumption of military hostilities, does serious damage to the credibility of this process in the eyes of the international community and shatters the hopes of the Angolan people, which, today more than ever, needs calm. We note with satisfaction, finally, the positive measures taken recently by the Angolan Government, in particular, the release of prisoners, the repatriation of military experts, the withdrawal of troops stationed near the UNITA quartering zones and the beginning of the quartering process of the rapid reaction police force, in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol.
We request that UNITA act in turn by resuming the quartering of its troops, freeing all prisoners, cooperating fully with UNAVEM III and refraining from acts of hostility and intimidation directed towards its personnel. We also hope that the target date of 8 February for the quartering of 16,500 soldiers will be respected as promised by Mr. Savimbi.
Despite this setback in the process, we note that the parties have demonstrated their firm determination to pursue their consultations for peace following the drawing up of a new timetable for the implementation of the agreements concluded on 21 December. This initiative deserves our full support, and we urge the parties to respect them in full. We also welcome the decision taken by the Government and UNITA regarding the establishment of a group for conflict prevention, made up of high-ranking military personnel from the two parties. In this context, we warmly encourage a meeting between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi in order to re-establish an atmosphere of confidence and credibility in this process.
Given the complexity of the implementation of the peace agreement in Angola, my delegation appeals urgently to our Angolan brothers to respect scrupulously the cease-fire and to refrain from any actions that might jeopardize the development of the process under way. We also encourage the parties to speed up the demining process to allow extensive movement throughout the country, thus making possible the return of refugees and displaced persons. We ask the international community to support the plans for demining in Angola.
Regarding the issue of human rights, my delegation has taken note of the seminar organized by the Government with the assistance of UNAVEM III and welcomes its conclusions regarding issues dealing with respect for human rights. With regard to the humanitarian aspect, we note with regret that the situation has deteriorated in the zones controlled by UNITA because of certain restrictions imposed on the transport of assistance and on non-governmental organization personnel, who, in some cases, have been harassed and detained. Nevertheless, we are gratified to learn that UNITA has now reconsidered its position and has promised to facilitate the work of the humanitarian organizations.
The economic situation in Angola should also be the subject of special attention on the part of the international community, given its specific nature, characterized by a devastating war lasting more than 30 years that has destroyed the entire infrastructure of the country and has disrupted its economic system. International financial institutions and donor countries must respect the commitments they made at the round-table conference held in Brussels last September in order to ensure the consolidation of peace and national reconstruction in Angola.
Before concluding, my country would like to thank all the countries and international organizations that are working together to re-establish peace and bring about reconciliation in Angola, particularly the troika, as well as the African countries that have spared no effort in this process. Nor can we forget the enormous efforts of the United Nations and, in particular, the tireless commitment of our Secretary-General, his Special Representative and all the personnel of UNAVEM III.
In the light of the extremely important and highly commendable role that UNAVEM III has continued to play in Angola to re-establish peace and bring about national reconciliation, Guinea-Bissau recommends the extension of its mission.
I should like first of all to extend to you, Madam, my delegation’s congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of February. I am sure that through your wisdom and guidance the Council will successfully meet the challenges that lie ahead. We would also like to express our great appreciation to the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, Sir John Weston, for his excellent stewardship of the Council during the month of January.
My delegation is most appreciative to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report (S/1996/75) of 31 January 1996, concerning the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). My delegation believes the report provides us with important information regarding the political, military, humanitarian, financial, economic and social aspects of the situation in Angola, which, in our opinion, will prove invaluable to our discussion concerning the future of UNAVEM III. In this context, we wish to express our gratitude to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, for his persistent efforts towards a peaceful solution to this tragic crisis in Angola. We also pay tribute to the men and women of UNAVEM III for their outstanding contributions in the service of peace under difficult circumstances.
We are also grateful for the opportunity this meeting provides to expand the discussion by eliciting the valuable and constructive input of the general membership of the United Nations, which is necessary for the Council to take the appropriate decision. As a consequence, my delegation is confident that our discussion today will be a fruitful and beneficial one.
Having carefully examined the Secretary-General’s report, my delegation cannot but express its regret at the conflict in Angola, which continues despite the genuine and patient efforts of the international community to lay the groundwork for a political settlement. It is frustrating for my delegation to witness a disturbing pattern whereby progress rapidly gives way to renewed hostilities in a conflict that has been waged for so long. The parties themselves are hard pressed to provide a rationale for the continued fighting, which has torn Angola apart at the cost of thousands of lives.
We are disappointed by both parties’ continued hesitation over fully implementing the Lusaka Protocol, which we deem indispensable to the objective of achieving a political settlement. In this connection, my delegation strongly urges both parties to rededicate themselves to the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, with particular regard to troop disengagement, disarming the civilian population and quartering UNITA troops. We call on the leadership of both parties to put their personal differences behind them and to exercise the political will needed to put the peace process back on track without further delay. It is our considered view that any delay would in turn adversely affect the implementation of the other essential aspects of the peace process, including the issue of power-sharing between the main protagonists to the conflict.
While recent events in Angola have provided ample reason for pessimism, we note, however, that some important steps have recently been taken to redress the situation and revive the peace process. In particular, my delegation urges both parties to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities under the agreement reached on 21 December 1995 establishing a new timetable for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. In addition, we welcome the steps taken by the Government of Angola to cease offensive operations; withdraw its troops from offensive positions in the vicinity of UNITA quartering areas; release all prisoners registered by the International Committee of the Red Cross; begin quartering the rapid reaction police; and terminate the use of expatriate personnel. These are major steps in the direction of peace.
My delegation notes UNITA’s stated intention and commitment to quarter 16,500 of its troops in an expeditious and comprehensive manner. UNITA’s leadership must fulfil this commitment, and must also immediately release all its remaining prisoners.
My delegation also notes that the Government of Angola and UNITA have agreed to establish a “conflict prevention group” aimed at deterring cease-fire violations. As in the past, however, my delegation is cautious about agreements such as this, because of the gap between the statements made by the parties and the reality of their commitment to the peace process. We therefore highlight the importance the Council attaches to monitoring what actions the parties pledge and what actions they take.
My delegation believes that the parties can fundamentally improve the prospects for peace by beginning to negotiate in good faith. This would establish their credibility and provide an environment conducive to confidence-building. We also take the view that no long-term peace can be achieved without accelerating the quartering and disarming processes. We therefore call on the parties to institute processes and procedures that will facilitate the implementation of these essential elements.
In this regard, we would impress upon the parties that the international community can neither afford nor tolerate any further delays.
We are keenly aware of the close interlinkages between the various aspects of the peace process and the revitalization of the Angolan economy. Angola will require a continued international presence, including peace-keeping forces, and assistance from international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme to build upon the progress that has been made. Such assistance will be forthcoming only if both parties truly meet their obligations as set out in the Lusaka Protocol.
Though my delegation fully understands the international community’s growing frustration, given the alternative we must urge all those that can do so to lend whatever they can so that the process of assisting Angola to rebuild can begin. Rebuilding Angola cannot be achieved by abandoning the country; on the contrary, it can be achieved only through hard work and perseverance.
In conclusion, and in the light of these considerations, my delegation believes that there is still much that the parties to the conflict themselves must do to resolve all the outstanding issues peacefully. Bearing in mind that assistance from the international community cannot continue indefinitely, my delegation therefore strongly urges both parties to strive for substantial progress in the peace process and to demonstrate a genuine political will to achieve national reconciliation consistent with the objectives of that process.
Prolonging the conflict would only be a disservice to the people of Angola, who have for far too long been deprived of the opportunity to live in peace and develop their economy.
The delegation of Botswana salutes you, Madam President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council this month. We were greatly impressed that, in preparation for your assumption of the onerous responsibilities of that office, you visited several hot spots in Africa and read them the Riot Act, so to speak. The visits reflect the concern and determination of the United States to find solutions to conflict situations in Africa which, unfortunately, constitute the bulk of the Council’s programme of work these days. I wish to assure you, Madam President, of the full support and cooperation of my delegation during your presidency.
May I also pay a warm tribute to your predecessor, Sir John Weston, and his delegation for the excellent manner in which they led the Council in January. Sir John’s presidency will certainly go down in the records of the Security Council as the most successful law-and-order presidency.
My delegation welcomes the fact that the Council is considering the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) in this formal, open meeting. In two days, on 8 February 1996, UNAVEM III will be one year old. The most important achievement of this period is that an atmosphere of calm prevails throughout Angola, after more than two decades of war.
The Lusaka Protocol and the coming into effect of the cease-fire were momentous developments for the people of Angola in particular and of southern Africa generally. This was the year in which Mozambicans consolidated the gains of peace. In South Africa apartheid was relegated to the museum of history, as a democratic and non-racial society proudly took its rightful place among the family of nations. Southern Africa was thus entering an era of great hope and expectations. Unfortunately, the people of Angola still face the difficult challenge of turning that hope into a reality.
As the mandate of UNAVEM III comes up for review, it is appropriate that States Members of the United Nations should have the opportunity to contribute to this important discussion. The members of the international community have closely followed and monitored the developments in Angola, and we hope to benefit at today’s meeting from the views and insights of some of them regarding the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
The delegation of Botswana was one of those that called for the speedy deployment of UNAVEM III peace-keepers in the past year. We did so in the firm belief that the presence of the international community in Angola would play a vital role in creating conditions in that country for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and the peace accords. UNAVEM III has now been in Angola for almost a year, and we are convinced that its presence has contributed in no small measure to the stabilization of the situation in that war-weary country through the enforcement of the cease-fire, which, thank God, is holding. Botswana is therefore satisfied that UNAVEM III has made an important contribution to the peace process in Angola, and we commend the men and women of UNAVEM for a job well done under trying conditions.
Yet my delegation continues to be deeply concerned that, although one year has passed since the launching of UNAVEM III and the peace-keeping mission in Angola has nearly reached its authorized strength, it is a fact that the Lusaka Protocol remains unimplemented in a number of key areas. This is a constant reminder that the peace process still remains fragile. The Secretary-General’s report correctly points out that
“the quartering of UNITA troops — one of the central elements of the peace process — has not made any significant progress.” (S/1996/75, para. 14)
The quartering of UNITA troops is indeed central to the peace process because it would have a salutary effect on other key areas, such as the formation of a national army, an end to military offensives and the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons. The international community must bring pressure to bear on UNITA to demonstrate, in deeds rather than in words, its commitment to the peace process. It should quarter its troops in accordance with the pledge made by Mr. Savimbi, as reflected in paragraph 15 of the Secretary-General’s report. No further delays should be countenanced, as they pose a danger to the gains made in the past year. The Council must be united in sending a strong message to UNITA that procrastination and prevarication cannot be accepted.
We welcome the Government of Angola’s release of all prisoners in its custody, the withdrawal of Angolan armed forces from Pedra do Alemao, the commencement of the quartering of the rapid reaction police and the termination of the contract with Executive Outcomes. These are positive steps on the part of the Government of Angola, to which UNITA should respond in kind.
Botswana has noted that the Government of Angola and UNITA recently reached an agreement on a new timetable for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We have also noted the establishment of a “conflict prevention group”, which should enable the military authorities, especially field commanders, to defuse tensions or eliminate cease-fire violations. The Angolans themselves must make the effort to eliminate any possibilities for the resumption of hostilities. It is important for the Angolans to realize that the international community will not judge them merely by the agreements that they have freely entered into between themselves but, rather, on whether they deliver on such commitments and do so in a timely manner.
The assassinations, abductions, looting and extortion mentioned in paragraph 25 of the Secretary-General’s report should not be allowed to continue with impunity, lest they become a permanent feature of life in Angola. The disarmament of the civilian population is a priority area and must be pursued vigorously. As the report indicates, it is the vulnerable groups of society that fall victim to the criminal elements, and it must never be forgotten that it was the ordinary people of Angola who bore the main brunt of the war. It is unacceptable that they should be subjected to these inhumane acts, even in conditions of relative peace.
The unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance is clearly an essential aspect of the peace process. We condemn the confiscation of relief supplies, vehicles and radios by UNITA and its imposition of restrictions on the movement of relief flights and road convoys, as mentioned in paragraph 27 of the Secretary-General’s report. The Security Council should call upon UNITA to desist from creating obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to honour its promise to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations.
A lot still needs to be done to advance the peace process in Angola. UNAVEM has an important role to play in the difficult task ahead. My delegation therefore shares the view of the Secretary-General that the mandate of UNAVEM III should be extended for another six months. It is our hope that during this period the Member States of the United Nations will individually and collectively do all they can to ensure that the parties to the Lusaka Protocol, especially UNITA, honour their commitments, in accordance with the revised schedule of implementation.
I should like first of all, Madam, to express my delegation’s satisfaction at seeing you preside over the Council. Needless to say, you can count on Chile’s unwavering cooperation in the fulfilment of your important tasks.
I wish also to express my delegation’s appreciation to Ambassador Weston for his outstanding presidency during the month of January.
I should like to say that we are grateful for the report submitted to us by the Secretary-General, which describes the status of the peace process in Angola. We note that the peace process continues to be marked by the instability that existed prior to the Lusaka agreements remain, and we believe it necessary to appeal to the parties to redouble their efforts to implement fully the commitments undertaken on that occasion.
There can be no doubt that the support of the international community is strongly influenced by outbreaks of violence such as those that occurred recently in the Soyo region.
One way of offsetting the discouragement resulting from this type of event is for the troop-quartering process to resume immediately, proceeding as circumstances allow, and for the cease-fire to be strictly respected.
We deeply regret the campaign of threats and hostility against the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). The parties to the conflict must commit themselves to putting an end to this harassment and give assurances to the United Nations that will allow its organs to continue with their work in the field.
We believe that there can be no justification for such attacks against UNAVEM III troops and that this hostile attitude strongly affects the willingness of the international community to continue to lend its support to Angola, thus threatening the very foundations of the peace process.
We wish once again to draw the attention of the Angolan political leaders, especially those of UNITA, to the need to spare their populations further suffering. All that energy that was devoted for so many years to war and destruction should now be channelled into building a solid foundation for the development of the country.
The fruitless sacrifice of the people of Angola during so many years of conflict must come to an end and give way to better days, in keeping with the changes that have taken place in the world.
We make a special appeal that the will of the people of Angola, freely expressed through electoral mechanisms that reflect democratic practices, be recognized and heeded.
The current international political situation presents developing countries with many challenges regarding their place in the new structure of world power, and also with great opportunities for development within the new structures of the international economy.
To benefit from the new circumstances requires more energy and creativity than that used to wage war. This is the greatest challenge confronting the political leaders of the developing world.
I thank the representative of Chile for his kind words addressed to me.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of the United States.
The United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) is now the largest United Nations peace-keeping operation deployed anywhere in the world. It has some 6,500 soldiers from over 30 countries prepared to perform the mandates set forth by this Council.
Having personally toured UNAVEM III’s operations a few weeks ago, I can confirm that the United Nations peace-keepers are critical to the peace process launched by the Lusaka Protocol, as is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Maître Beye. The brave men and women of UNAVEM III deserve our support at this important juncture on the road to peace in Angola. But in the final analysis the future of Angola rests not with the men and women of UNAVEM III, but with the Government of Angola and with UNITA.
When I met with President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi in January and delivered the letters to them approved by the Security Council, I found the two men who professed to want peace and who professed to be willing to take the necessary steps to make peace, as spelled out in the Lusaka Protocol. I challenged them, as the Council must challenge them today, to match deeds with words.
To a large extent, the Government of Angola has been moving in the right direction over the last several weeks. In the months ahead it must continue to integrate fully UNITA into the political and military institutions of the country and to help UNITA soldiers make the transition into either civilian life or a reconstituted Angolan army. There can be no reconciliation in Angola unless this is accomplished.
UNITA’s poor performance under the Lusaka Protocol has jeopardized the peace process and undermined the viability of UNAVEM III. When I visited UNITA headquarters in Bailundo last month, Mr. Savimbi promised me — a promise he repeated publicly to the media — that by Thursday, 8 February, 16,500 UNITA soldiers would be quartered in four sites administered by UNAVEM III. Last Friday he reiterated this pledge to me by telephone, saying that he would not rest until he fulfilled this commitment. Unfortunately, as of this morning only 5,150 soldiers, many of them unarmed, had arrived in the quartering sites. Approximately another 2,000 are reportedly moving towards the quartering sites.
Every UNITA soldier who enters a quartering site makes a courageous decision — for himself, his family and his country. It will take comparable courage on the part of Mr. Savimbi and the other UNITA leaders to see this process through to the end.
But Mr. Savimbi’s pledge to me at Bailundo is not enough. Even if 16,500 UNITA soldiers are quartered, the opportunity for peace in Angola will be lost unless UNITA follows through on schedule with the quartering of the rest of its soldiers, and the opportunity for peace will be lost unless the Government of Angola integrates UNITA soldiers into the new army, the Government and civilian life. Both leaders must make their promises of peace stick. They must seize the opportunity for peace that the international community is offering them.
There is no purpose to renewed war in Angola. All acknowledge that. The people of Angola want peace. If the leaders of Angola do not take a risk for peace now, then this beautiful country, which possesses enormous economic potential for its people, will be plunged back into a pointless but devastating war that will destabilize southern Africa once again.
I have seen what Angolans are capable of doing to each other, and nobody in his right mind can possibly wish it upon his own people. The humanitarian challenge in Angola, as the Secretary-General describes in his report, is daunting. Demining alone will take decades to accomplish, and even then Angolan children will continue to lose their limbs to an unseen and ageless enemy.
The Security Council will bear witness to the conduct of both the Government of Angola and UNITA in the weeks ahead. The Council anticipates that if the Secretary-General reports insufficient progress towards implementing the Lusaka Protocol, then our Governments will re-evaluate the merit of continuing UNAVEM III’s mandate to February 1997.
The United States will not allow a sound peace-keeping operation, which spends nearly $1 million per day, to be slowly undermined by the failure of leaders to fulfil their promises.
This afternoon I plan to speak with Mr. Savimbi by phone again. As President of the Security Council, I will report to him on today’s discussion and the expectations that the international community holds for Angola. Let us hope that during the next few weeks the Lusaka Protocol will be firmly back on track, that UNAVEM III will be able to fulfil its mandate, and that the people of Angola can, after decades of destructive war, finally realize the quiet miracle of a normal life.
I resume my function as President of the Security Council.
The next speaker is the representative of Norway. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me first to congratulate you, Madam, on your assumption of the office of President of the Security Council for the month of February, and to express our appreciation to your predecessor, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Sir John Weston. I would also like to commend the Council for convening this orientation debate.
Since the operations started, Norway has participated in UNAVEM II and III with military observers. We support the renewal of the mandate and we will continue our participation.
Much remains to be done within the framework of the “Acordos de Paz”, the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in order to give full effect to the peace settlement in Angola. We have noted with appreciation the Secretary-General’s observations concerning the positive steps taken by the Government side during the last few weeks. However, the numerous delays in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol remain a matter of grave concern. It is now particularly important to avoid further delays in the crucial areas of troop disengagement and the quartering of former combatants. We therefore urge the parties to the Protocol, and in particular UNITA, to continue to commit themselves fully and faithfully to implementing its provisions and to respect and maintain the cease-fire throughout the country.
Angola needs the support and the encouragement of the international community. Norway has played its part, and remains committed to continue to do so, through substantial contributions both in terms of humanitarian aid and long-term development assistance. The planned contribution for 1996 is approximately $16 million, which equals the 1995 contribution.
As far as possible, long-term development assistance should be designed and managed with a particular view to reinforcing the peace process. Continued support for the reconstruction of the country is, however, contingent on the demonstrated commitment of the Angolan parties to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation. In the humanitarian field, mine clearance will remain a priority area. The reports of deteriorating security for humanitarian activities, especially in UNITA-controlled areas, are disturbing. I should like to stress the importance we attach to UNITA’s and the Government’s continuing to cooperate fully with the international humanitarian relief effort.
The international community will show its full solidarity with Angola through the coming renewal of the mandate of UNAVEM III. But this solidarity can only support the efforts of the Government and UNITA, whose will to implement the peace process and to engage in genuine reconciliation will remain decisive.
I thank the representative of Norway for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Zimbabwe. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I wish to begin by congratulating you, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. May I also express our thanks and appreciation to Sir John Weston, Ambassador of the United Kingdom, for the most able manner in which he steered the work of the Council during the month of January.
The Council is today considering a question of paramount importance to the Government and the people of Zimbabwe and, indeed, to the people of the whole southern African region. In this regard, my delegation wishes to express its gratitude to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and most revealing report on the situation in Angola. Our thanks go also to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Blondin Beye, who has continued to conduct the process of dialogue in Angola with abiding patience and optimism. May I also reiterate the Zimbabwean Government’s sincere appreciation for the crucial role played by the Governments of Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, which together constitute a most functional consultative troika on the question of Angola.
When the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe addressed the General Assembly at the Special Commemorative Meeting on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, he drew a most fitting analogy between southern Africa’s current fortunes and the experiences of a fifteenth-century Portuguese seafarer named Bartolomeu Dias. When this Portuguese navigator experienced ferocious storms as he rounded the southern tip of Africa, he described it as a region of storms. However, when his King realized what the captain had achieved, he rechristened the area one of “good hope”.
Buoyed by the recent triumphs of peace in Mozambique and South Africa, and with our hopes further raised by the ongoing peace process in Angola, we are convinced that southern Africa has truly become a region of good hope after having navigated its way through recent perilous storms. Although the Angolan coast is not yet clear, we are heartened by the most welcome landmark progress made by the Government of Angola in implementing its commitments in the historic peace process. We encourage the Government of Angola to build on the momentum it has so courageously gathered.
My delegation urges UNITA to rise to the expectations of the people of Angola and the international community and to hasten the process of quartering and disarming its troops. We also encourage UNITA to live up to its own public commitment by proceeding with the orderly and large-scale movement of its troops to the quartering areas without further delay or interruption, in strict adherence to the new timetable agreed upon on 12 January 1996 and in full cooperation with the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). My delegation, like others represented here this morning, is convinced that the quartering of UNITA troops, as a first step, is a crucial component of the peace process.
It should also be remembered that the attainment of political and economic stability in the southern African region can be realized only when the people of Angola turn their swords into ploughshares and peace is restored in that country.
In accordance with its commitment to the United Nations peace-keeping effort and to its confidence in the resolve of the brotherly people of Angola to seek peace, the Government of Zimbabwe committed troops and civilian police to UNAVEM III. We wish to commend all countries contributing troops to UNAVEM III, and the United Nations and the international community as a whole, for coming to the aid of the Angolan people in their hour of need. It is our conviction that the extension of the mandate of UNAVEM III is a prerequisite for the success of the peace process in Angola.
There can be no doubt, however, that the success of the peace process in Angola ultimately depends on the people of Angola themselves. We therefore once again encourage both the Government of Angola and UNITA to heroically resist the temptation to seek comparative advantage over each other and, instead, to seize this opportune moment to make a lasting investment in peace, for which current and future generations will for ever be indebted to them.
I thank the representative of Zimbabwe for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Brazil. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like first of all to congratulate you, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of February. We are confident that under your skilled guidance the work of the Security Council will be conducted with great efficiency. Let me also take this opportunity to thank your predecessor, Sir John Weston, for the competence with which he conducted the business of the Council during the month of January.
I wish to express my delegation’s appreciation for the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), contained in document S/1996/75, which presents a comprehensive picture of the situation in Angola.
The Secretary-General, both personally and through his Special Representative, Maître Alioune Blondin Beye, has been indefatigable in his effort to build confidence and in assisting in the consolidation of the peace process. Likewise, the endeavours of the troika of observer States to stimulate better understanding between the Government and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) also deserve credit. I would like to recall in this context the important official visit to Angola by President Mario Soares of Portugal.
Your own trip to Angola, Madam President, was also a timely and positive initiative, as it underscored the keen interest of the Security Council, and indeed of the international community, in bringing peace to Angola once and for all. There is reason to believe that the letters from the President of Council which you delivered to both President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, as well as your own démarches, have produced a significant impact.
Brazil is fully committed to the peace process in Angola. Our involvement in the creation of UNAVEM III dates from the last period during which we served on the Council, 1993 to 1994. In my former capacity as Minister of External Relations of Brazil, I had the privilege of representing Brazil during the signing of the Lusaka Protocol in November 1994, the only non-African authority of ministerial level to be present at that event. We have now become the largest troop contributor to UNAVEM III, with an engineering company, two medical units and an infantry battalion, as well as military observers and police observers. This participation reflects a long-term commitment to Angola and its people, based on common cultural and historical roots as well as on similar aspirations to social and economic development. We are convinced that all Angolans, regardless of what side they may have fought for in the past, are tired of war and ready for reconciliation.
However, we must agree with the Secretary-General in his assessment that
“the peace process in Angola has been proceeding at a disappointingly slow pace”. (S/1996/75, para. 37)
We also agree that efforts by the Government of Angola and by UNITA to implement the Lusaka Protocol have been very different indeed and, of course, have had very different effects on the peace process.
Since the military movements of last December, the Government has undertaken a series of actions that have clearly demonstrated its commitment to the peace process, first by withdrawing its forces from Pedra do Alemão, but more significantly by starting to quarter its rapid reaction police. Up to now, more than 2,100 troops from the rapid reaction police have been quartered. All prisoners identified have been freed. A large group of personnel from the firm Executive Outcomes has been repatriated.
On the UNITA side, unfortunately, the picture is far less encouraging. The quartering of UNITA forces is way behind schedule. In spite of Mr. Savimbi’s promises to you, Madam President, to the effect that UNITA would quarter 16,500 troops by 8 February, only 3,651 UNITA troops had been quartered as of yesterday, 5 February. We have had slightly bigger figures for today, but they are still far from what was promised. Prisoners are still being held by UNITA. The last planned summit between President José Eduardo dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi was postponed upon UNITA’s request.
Yesterday’s meeting with contributors of troops to UNAVEM III provided us with a useful opportunity to examine the situation in Angola and to exchange views on the future of the Verification Mission. While aware of the differences in the parties’ compliance with their obligations in Angola, we remain convinced that the international community should continue to respond positively to the construction of a peaceful environment in that war-torn country, and we intend to maintain our own involvement in the United Nations peace effort. It is in this light that we would deem it appropriate for the mandate of UNAVEM III to be renewed for an additional six months, as has been proposed by the Secretary-General. This is not incompatible, in our view, with sending strong signals to UNITA as regards the need for full cooperation and compliance with previously agreed military and political objectives. This in fact has been our position for a long time, and we are glad to see that many others have come to share this view.
At the current stage of events in Angola, we believe that a six-month extension will allow UNAVEM III to continue to fulfil a very important role. It is clear, however, that the Council must continue to keep a watchful eye on events in Angola and renew efforts to persuade the less cooperative party to commit itself to the consolidation of peace, without reservations, for the benefit of all Angolans.
I thank the representative of Brazil for the kind words he addressed to me.
There are a number of speakers remaining. In view of the lateness of the hour, and with the concurrence of the members of the Security Council, I intend to suspend the meeting now. The Council will resume its consideration of the item on its agenda at 3.30 this afternoon.
With the permission of Council members, I should like to make the following information known.
This morning, speaking in my national capacity, I announced that I would be speaking with Mr. Savimbi by telephone today. I spoke to him at around 2 p.m. this afternoon, and I wanted to brief members of the Council and other representatives here on that conversation.
I expressed to Mr. Savimbi my nation’s concern that the quartering process was seriously behind schedule and that UNITA would not be able to honour its commitment to quarter 16,500 troops by 8 February. I told him that we were in the middle of a public meeting on the subject of Angola and that the speakers that had already spoken had mentioned the importance of the process’s going forward and had used the 16,500 number.
Mr. Savimbi acknowledged that the quartering was behind schedule, but stated that he was working around the clock to fulfil his commitment. He provided the following figures on soldiers quartered as of today. These are Mr. Savimbi’s figures and we will probably have to verify them through United Nations sources. In the south, at Vila Nova, 3,902 have been quartered; at Lunduimbale, 2,139; in the north, at Negage, 843; and at Quibaxe, 250. He claimed that there would be 5,000 each in Vila Nova and Lunduimbale by Thursday. He also said that there would be 4,000 troops quartered in Negage and 1,500 in Quibaxe by Thursday, 8 February. If completed, this would mean that 14,500 troops would be quartered by Thursday. The remaining balance of 2,000 troops would be quartered by Saturday, 10 February, he said.
He claimed that the northern quartering sites presented certain difficulties due to great distances.
I also reminded Mr. Savimbi that the troops were required to bring their weapons. We had reports that troops were arriving without weapons. Mr. Savimbi replied that the UNITA troops were bringing their weapons.
He also confirmed that there has been at least one instance in which UNAVEM had sent transport for UNITA troops, but when the transport arrived the UNITA troops were not at the appointed location. This, by the way, was a point raised yesterday at the troop contributors’ meeting; I asked him about it, and he agreed that there had been a lack of communication from the UNITA troops on this point.
I told him that it was my sense that this public meeting of the Security Council was a sign that the international community was following developments very closely.
He closed by saying to me that he was aware of his commitment and felt personally responsible for ensuring that it was fulfilled.
We have another telephone call scheduled for Thursday.
I think that it is important for him to know that we care deeply about the numbers and that we are following them very closely.
I now resume my role as President of the Security Council.
The next speaker is the representative of Lesotho. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement now.
Madam President, permit me at the outset to express our deep appreciation for the opportunity afforded us to share our views with the Council on an issue that is very close to the heart of the people and the Government of Lesotho — namely, the situation in our sister country Angola.
We also express our appreciation for the Secretary-General’s balanced and informative report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III).
The tragedy of Angola is the result of its being for a long time a victim of cold-war rivalries and the resultant destabilization. The demise of apartheid in South Africa raised hopes for an end to Angola’s agony, but that was not to be. The people of Africa in general, and of southern Africa in particular, would like to see the conflict in Angola ended and the people there beginning to reconstruct their country and their lives.
We are encouraged by the fact that, even though the peace process has been slow, the Government has shown a renewed determination to forge ahead with it. In this regard, the withdrawal of its forces from Pedra do Alemao, the start of the quartering of its rapid reaction police and the termination of the contract of the firm “Executive Outcomes” are evidence of a strong commitment to the peace process and are to be welcomed. Our hope now is that UNITA will respond in kind by beginning the quartering of its own troops.
The Secretary-General’s efforts in reminding the parties of their obligations under the Lusaka Protocol need to be supported and encouraged.
Angola — a country generously endowed with natural resources whose exploitation could go a long way towards uplifting the condition of its own people and could also make a significant contribution to the economic development of the region — needs to be reconstructed. Infrastructure must be rebuilt, internally displaced people and refugees must be resettled, social services must be resumed and land-mines must be cleared. We call upon the international community to spare no effort and to ensure that the investment that has so far been made to bring life in Angola back to normal is not dissipated.
While the impatience of the international community with the slow progress of the peace process is understandable, it should, however, not be allowed to become cause for despair. We in Lesotho therefore support the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the mandate of UNAVEM III be extended for a further six months, until 8 August 1996, in order to give our collective endeavours in Angola a chance to succeed.
The next speaker is the representative of Portugal. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Madam President, allow me to congratulate you, on behalf of my delegation, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month.
I would also like to commend your predecessor, Ambassador Sir John Weston, on the manner in which he conducted the Council’s business last month.
I wish to begin by expressing my delegation’s appreciation for the convening of this orientation debate. By showing its readiness to listen to the points of view of all Member States interested in this matter, the Security Council is demonstrating the importance it attaches to the Angolan peace process.
The representative of Italy has already spoken on behalf of the European Union, and Portugal fully associates itself with that statement. However, I would like to add some further comments because, as members are well aware, Portugal has been deeply committed to this process, first as a mediator in the negotiations which led to the “Acordos de Paz” and now as a member of the troika of observer countries. Like previous speakers, we share the concerns expressed by the Secretary-General over the delays in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
I would like to focus my statement on three main areas, the first of which is military issues. Portugal is particularly concerned with the slow pace at which UNITA troops are being quartered. We welcome the positive steps that have been taken recently by the Government of Angola, and we are now looking forward to the fulfilment of the public commitment by the leader of UNITA, Mr. Savimbi, to quarter 16,500 men by 8 February 1996, as restated with some modifications to you, Madam President, in your telephone conversation with him today.
We are, however, worried by certain reports according to which the combatants moving towards the quartering areas are either the very young or the very old. Another reason for concern is the fact that a high percentage of those fighters have been presenting themselves at the quartering areas without any equipment or armaments.
In this context, we would like to underline the fact that UNAVEM III is not a buffer force between the parties in conflict: its aim is to monitor compliance with the “Acordos de Paz” and the Lusaka Protocol. It is essential, therefore, that it should impose strict controls on UNITA’s armaments, including its heavy weapons.
Portugal fully agrees with the report of the Secretary-General in urging UNITA to proceed with a large-scale and fully verifiable movement of its troops to quartering areas. No attempt to shift responsibility for delays or non-compliance to UNAVEM III will be admissible.
We are looking forward to the implementation of the new timetable recently agreed to by both parties, under which there will be a proper integration of UNITA troops into the Angolan Armed Forces and a gradual demobilization of its other forces.
Full and unconditional cooperation with UNAVEM III and the Joint Commission is required in order to achieve the peace and stability the Angolan people desire and deserve.
Portugal agrees with the report of the Secretary-General that there is no excuse for delays in the release of all prisoners or in the provision to the United Nations of the information required by the Lusaka Protocol.
It is crucial to speed up the demining process. Angolan roads free of mines will allow a better and effective flow of humanitarian assistance to the needy Angolan population. This will make possible a return to normal life and allow the free circulation of people and goods throughout the country, which, in our opinion, will improve the atmosphere of trust, one of the obstacles still to be overcome.
Secondly, let me turn to the political level. Portugal considers the pursuit of a political dialogue between the parties at all levels extremely important. We also encourage a meeting, as soon as possible, between President Eduardo dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, as another sign of political will and a further step towards promoting mutual confidence and the full implementation of the provisions on national reconciliation of the Lusaka Protocol.
In this regard, we look forward to the return of UNITA Members of Parliament to the National Assembly in Luanda, the assumption of the vice-presidency by UNITA and the participation of UNITA at all levels of the administration, in the central, provincial and local governments, all this according to the provisions of the “Acordos de Paz” and the Lusaka Protocol.
In the same vein, Portugal encourages all efforts towards the complete transformation of UNITA from an armed movement into a political party. We also encourage the Government of Angola to pursue and conclude the repatriation process of expatriate personnel, the quartering of the rapid reaction police and the disengagement of the Angolan armed forces.
Thirdly, let me speak about the mandate of UNAVEM III. Portugal considers that the use of the duration of the mandate of UNAVEM III as a form of pressure towards the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol is probably not the best solution for the Security Council to act upon at this stage.
In our view, in order to apply pressure effectively, the Security Council resolution on Angola should be tailored to include an operative paragraph establishing clearly a review of the implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, which could take place on a monthly basis. In this way, the Security Council would send a strong signal that it would be closely monitoring developments in Angola, and that at any moment it could consider any new action required in the light of any developments, such as imposing restrictive measures against any offending party.
I should like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary-General; his Special Representative, Maître Beye; and all personnel of UNAVEM III. I should also like to commend the positive role that has been played by the neighbouring countries of Angola. It is important that we all act in a concerted way with one another and with the Security Council, using as much weight as we can, in order to make possible a durable peace.
UNAVEM has been playing a vital role, fulfilling in an exemplary manner its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol. Now, more than ever, the Angolan parties must live up to their share of the deal. The Angolans themselves hold the key to the solution. They are primarily responsible for the success, or the failure, of the process. The international community has responded at various levels to the appeals of the Angolans. They now must show that they are worthy of such support. They must live together in peace, and together they must reconstruct Angola.
I thank the representative of Portugal for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of South Africa. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I should like to join those who have congratulated you, Madam, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We have no doubt that your experience and wisdom will enable you to steer its meetings successfully.
By the same token, allow me to extend a word of gratitude and appreciation to Ambassador Weston of the United Kingdom for the efficient manner in which he presided over the Council’s deliberations during the past month.
We welcome the opportunity to participate in this orientation debate and hope that this practice will become a more frequent occurrence.
May I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for the current report submitted to the Security Council pursuant to resolution 1008 (1995) of 7 August 1995, in which the Council took a decision to extend the mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) until 8 February 1996.
My delegation also appreciates the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General and those of the three observer States — Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America — in persuading the two Angolan parties to fulfil their obligations under the terms of the Lusaka Protocol. The commitment by the Government of Angola and UNITA on 12 January 1996 to a new timetable for the implementation of previous agreements is commendable. The time has thus come for both parties to translate those agreements into tangible action.
My delegation has taken note of the observation in the current report that a climate of mutual trust and confidence between the Government of Angola and UNITA is still eluding both parties. It is well known that the uncertainty experienced by people as a result of the pain and suffering caused by war has a tendency to dampen the spirit and shade even the rays of hope that appear on the horizon. But the answer lies in the political will and the determination of the warring parties themselves to find common ground.
My delegation considers it vital that President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi should be encouraged to meet as soon as possible. The confidence-building mechanism should revolve and evolve around the process of dialogue between these two leaders.
In southern Africa, we who have lived under the pain of apartheid and war — scourges that seemed unrelenting, unyielding and unending — have witnessed the dawn of a new day. The foundations of peace and stability have been laid for the region. The onus is on the Angolan actors not to continue drawing the curtain of mistrust on the promise of a better life. It behoves the Angolan parties, therefore, to create a climate conducive to finding a durable solution.
My delegation concurs with the Secretary-General’s view that the international community should continue to respond to all constructive initiatives taken by both parties to make the peace process irreversible. The pace, however, needs to be accelerated vigorously in order to sustain the patience and goodwill of the international community. It would indeed be tragic if UNAVEM’s mandate were to cease because of a lack of progress.
In this connection, my Government believes that the Security Council should send a clear and unambiguous message to UNITA that failure to honour the agreements reached is totally unacceptable. UNITA must be urged to comply, and be seen to comply, fully with the agreement for the quartering of its troops and for the release of all political prisoners. We thank you, Madam President, for doing so this afternoon.
We welcome the release of political prisoners by the Government of Angola and hope that UNITA will take similar steps, and other steps, to push the peace process forward.
My Government wishes to reiterate its willingness to continue our assistance in a meaningful way in order to facilitate and expedite the peace process in Angola. My delegation is therefore wholly supportive of the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the mandate of UNAVEM III be renewed for a further six months, until 8 August 1996.
I thank the representative of South Africa for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Tunisia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
May I first of all congratulate you, Madam President, on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for this month, and wish you every success in the accomplishment of your tasks. The mission to Angola that you have just carried out and its results deserve to be welcomed as an important contribution to the consolidation of the peace process.
My congratulations also go to your predecessor, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, for the excellent work that he accomplished last month.
I wish to take this opportunity to welcome the holding, for the second time this year, of an orientation debate, which allows the members of the Organization to express their views on questions of interest to them; it also allows the Council to take its decisions with full understanding of all the elements and all the sensitive issues connected with a given subject.
The difficulties and delays in implementing the Lusaka Protocol clearly demonstrate that the efforts already made to achieve the signing of that Protocol should be intensified in order to avoid Angola’s return to the situation of war from which the population of that country suffered for two decades.
In this connection, I would like to pay tribute to the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, the representatives of the three observer countries — the United States, the Russian Federation and Portugal — as well as the Organization of African Unity. They are continuing their sustained work to relaunch implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, following repeated violations of the cease-fire and scant progress in the quartering of UNITA troops, which is an essential stage towards peace.
We believe that implementing the Lusaka Protocol requires resolute political will on the part of all Angolans in order to close the book on the past and rebuild the country on a solid new basis of fraternity and national solidarity.
To this end, in the present stage of implementing the Protocol, it is essential that negotiations between the Angolan Government and UNITA be resumed, in order to restore confidence between the two by putting an end to all military activity and resuming the quartering of UNITA troops and the return to barracks of government forces.
In this respect, we regard as encouraging the agreement reached between the Government and UNITA to establish a new timetable in order to move the peace process forward, as well as the resumption of bilateral negotiations to complete the establishment of joint armed forces.
The recent conclusion of an agreement to this end between the two parties is a positive step, which, in spite of certain difficulties which emerged, deserves to be encouraged and supported. We are pleased that the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) became involved in that process, in order to find, as the Secretary-General said in his report of 31 January 1996,
“a workable, fair and durable solution” (S/1996/75, para. 13)
to the problems.
The role of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission is essential for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, especially as regards the quartering of the UNITA elements. We hope, Madam President, that Mr. Savimbi will respect the commitments he made during the telephone conversation that you have just had with him, and that the quartering of 16,500 of his troops will indeed be carried out by 10 February 1996.
Furthermore, we would like to commend the work being done by the UNAVEM III units for the demining of Angola and the assistance being given by the United Nations Mission in this field to the Government. The continuing commendable efforts by the personnel of the Mission have won the respect and appreciation of us all.
In this context, we support the proposal by the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of UNAVEM III for six months, until 8 August 1996. It goes without saying that the cooperation of all the parties and the establishment of a climate of confidence are fundamental to the continuation of UNAVEM III’s activities.
I cannot fail at this point to pay a well-deserved tribute to the personnel involved in humanitarian assistance activities, who, in spite of the difficult conditions in which they work, continue to carry out their tasks in order to respond to the many humanitarian needs of the population. We appeal to UNITA to keep its promise to facilitate the work of the humanitarian organizations, respect the integrity of their personnel and to protect their property.
In a different context, we believe that the efforts to consolidate the peace process in Angola should be accompanied by increased financial support from the international community. We are pleased that specialized agencies of the United Nations have become involved in studies and in organizing seminars to find ways to improve the economic situation in that country.
In conclusion, Tunisia, which has unfailingly given assistance to the fraternal African people of Angola, as well as political support to facilitate the conclusion and implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, stands ready to continue to participate in all efforts to make peace in that country irreversible.
I thank the representative of Tunisia for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of New Zealand. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I congratulate you, Madam President, on assuming the presidency of the Council for this month of February. In fact, I believe that special congratulations are in order, because, if I recall rightly, this is the third time I have seen you as President of the Council. And of course it is a very rare distinction for any Permanent Representative to serve as President of the Council on three occasions. So we are particularly privileged to have your experienced leadership.
I also want to convey special thanks to His Excellency the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom. I think that the United Kingdom delegation presided over the Council during a very productive and important month of January. We are all very grateful for their efforts.
New Zealand very much welcomes the opportunity to participate in this orientation debate in connection with the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). As members of the Council will recall, New Zealand was the first country to support France’s proposal for public orientation meetings of this sort in the Security Council.
We believe that it is very important that the non-members of the Council have the opportunity to express their views in a way that can be fed into the Council’s informal deliberations. All too often in the past, the only chance for public debate has been after the Council has come to its decision. So we very much commend you, Madam President, for your initiative in calling this meeting. Orientation meetings are a useful complement to meetings like the one which you convened yesterday between Council members, troop contributors and the Secretariat. We hope that from both meetings Council members will be able to draw useful suggestions as they consider the extension of the mandate of UNAVEM III.
For, as the Secretary-General’s report makes clear, the extension of the mandate is by no means an easy decision. His report is, in many places, very disappointing reading. As he says,
“progress in the peace process in Angola has been very slow.” (S/1996/75, para. 2)
The setback to the process at the end of 1995 was a serious one. An offensive by government troops around Soyo saw UNITA respond by suspending the quartering of its troops, withdrawing its assistance to UNAVEM III in building quartering areas and imposing restrictions on the movement of the Mission. As you told the troop contributors yesterday, Madam President, even worse, most relief operations in UNITA-held territory ceased in December.
Since then, there has been some positive progress registered, but it is of a limited nature. As you reported to us this afternoon, Madam President, UNITA troops entering quartering areas are still behind schedule. We are still far short of the 16,500 whom Mr. Savimbi promised you would be quartered by Thursday. We are equally worried by reports that many entering the quartering areas are under age and carrying only old weapons or none at all.
Against this background, the international community has the right to be very concerned about the peace process. The Secretary-General correctly observes that we will want to respond positively to all constructive initiatives by the parties. But there seem at present to be all too few of these constructive initiatives.
We believe, therefore, that it is all the more important that the Security Council continue its policy of vigilance and active involvement to put pressure on both parties to cease this cat-and-mouse game. A pro-active Security Council, using the various tools at its disposal under Chapter VI of the Charter, is the best response to the current situation. Visits, such as your own, Madam President; missions by the Council itself; statements by the presidency; bilateral representations; United Nations special envoys; debates such as this; and the constant use of the media — both the international media and within Angola itself — to remind the parties of their obligations: these are the things which we believe can play an important, positive role. We want to commend very highly the members of the Council for their willingness to be pro-active in support of the peace process over the past 12 months.
You yourself, Madam President, described yesterday to the troop contributors the horrible sight of mine-crippled children. On the other hand, you also told us about how eagerly local villagers moved to turn areas that had been cleared of mines into productive fields. We see this as one, small, positive note. We are pleased at the report which the Secretary-General has been able to make of progress in the area of mine clearance. New Zealand has made a serious commitment to mine clearance in Angola, seeing it as a crucial element of longer-term stability.
But mine clearance in Angola has not been without its problems. It has taken a considerable effort to turn the programme around so that an efficient and coordinated approach can be taken in support of the peace-keeping operation and humanitarian requirements. New Zealand is pleased that its military personnel have been able to play a practical role in achieving this turnaround. The carry-over of unexpended funds should put the programme on a sound financial footing, but the key to the future will be the integration of the programme into the work of UNAVEM III. As the report notes, it will need to operate under the control of the UNAVEM III Force Commander until 1997. We believe that the structure is now in place to build a national capacity that will enable the Angolan people to reduce and maybe one day remove the threat posed by land-mines in their country.
We are also somewhat encouraged by the positive references in the Secretary-General’s report to human rights activities being conducted under United Nations auspices in Angola. But there is a need for much greater assistance and much more action in this regard. There will not be national reconciliation unless all the people of Angola have a reasonable prospect that their human rights will be respected if they lay down their arms. We are therefore strongly of the view that human rights capabilities in the context of peace-keeping operations need to be better integrated, better funded and better recognized within the United Nations system.
In conclusion, I should like to say a few words about the draft resolution which I know the Council members will begin to consider shortly.
First, we believe that it would be a mistake to try to put pressure on the parties by establishing an artificially short time-period for the mandate. This has been tried in the past in different situations, and it has been clearly demonstrated in the past that this tactic does not work. In the end, it only backfires against the Organization itself. It ruins planning and undermines proper financial management of the operation. So, if we are to go forward, let us go forward for a full six-month mandate period. In our view, the best way to signal a determination to keep up the pressure is by insisting on regular review periods within the mandate.
Secondly, could we request that the draft resolution take a firm and even-handed approach to both of the parties in Angola, holding them both responsible for honouring the promises made to the people of Angola that there would be peace? Can we also request that the draft resolution take a firm approach on the question of mine clearance? This is an area in which, as I have said, New Zealand is making a major contribution and in which we would like the Council to send a clear message to the parties to meet their obligations in this regard — but also a message to UNAVEM III and the Secretariat about the need to maintain an integrated approach to the management of the demining programme. We believe that we need an action-oriented approach if the problem of mines is ever to be resolved.
Finally, can the Council please find an acceptable way in its draft resolution to reinforce the importance of the human rights component in the United Nations presence in Angola?
I thank the representative of New Zealand for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Zambia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me, Madam, to extend to you my delegation’s congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February. May I also take this opportunity to convey my delegation’s appreciation to Sir John Weston, of the delegation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who presided over the Security Council during the month of January, for the able manner in which he conducted the affairs of the Council.
The Security Council is meeting once again to discuss progress in the implementation of the peace process in Angola following the signing of the Lusaka Protocol on 20 November 1994 at Lusaka. The Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and his Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, deserve special thanks and appreciation for their consistent show of interest and their practical efforts in the peace process in Angola. Special thanks and appreciation should also be extended to the three observer States — Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America — for their continued moral and material support for the consolidation of the peace process in Angola.
Madam President, my delegation has noted with pleasure your recent fact-finding and working trip to Africa, which took you to various flash points in Africa, including Angola. This, we believe, will enable the Council to have a deeper appreciation of the facts on the ground.
Although, unfortunately, slow progress has been reported in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, owing to numerous obstacles, my delegation remains optimistic about achieving a lasting and peaceful solution to the Angolan conflict. We believe that both parties to the conflict are still committed to the Lusaka Protocol as a fundamental basis for the peaceful solution of the Angolan problem. The people of Angola are very weary of the continuing conflict — more so than ever before. We also believe that the international community is now in an era which is characterized by cooperation rather than confrontation, by interdependence and by the peaceful solution of conflicts. The Angolan conflict cannot continue to be an exception to this rule.
My delegation has taken note of the many positive achievements on the part of the Angolan Government in the consolidation of the Lusaka Protocol and in the process of confidence-building. We hope that the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) too will adhere to the commitments made under the Lusaka Protocol. Indeed, both parties must renew their energies in order to remove the remaining obstacles to full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
For peace to return to Angola, however, it is incumbent upon the Government of Angola and UNITA to have the political will to reconcile with each other and to embrace peace rather than war. The onus for establishing lasting peace in that country rests first and foremost with the people of Angola and their leaders, as peace cannot be imposed from outside Angola.
As the Secretary-General rightly observed in his report,
“a deep-seated mistrust and a lack of political will to take decisive measures has prevented the parties from honouring their commitments”. (S/1996/75, para. 37)
This mistrust can be removed only by constant meetings between the two parties. My delegation therefore strongly welcomes and supports the establishment of a “conflict prevention group” composed of high-ranking military representatives of the two parties and the return to Luanda on 11 January 1996 of the UNITA military delegation to resume bilateral negotiations on the completion of the formation of the joint armed forces. These meetings are important because they contribute positively to confidence-building. My delegation wishes to urge the President of Angola and Mr. Savimbi of UNITA to meet on a regular basis to resolve differences that impede progress in the consolidation of peace. This will go a long way towards fostering a climate of mutual trust and confidence between the Government and UNITA.
In the regional context, my delegation supports the view that all States, in particular those neighbouring Angola, should facilitate the process of national reconciliation in Angola and should take steps to ensure that no actions contrary to the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol are committed on their territory.
With regard to the slow movement of humanitarian assistance, it is my delegation’s hope that all parties concerned will work tirelessly to guarantee the flow of humanitarian assistance by removing all the difficulties which obstruct the free movement of relief workers and humanitarian aid. Many Angolans have died during the war; every possible means must therefore be employed to prevent more deaths resulting from starvation. The Angolan people and the international community must ensure that food reaches the people in need, on time and on a regular basis.
Angola is relatively well endowed in natural resources, but for Angola to be in a position to exploit its resources, it needs peace. As is well known, peace is indivisible and is a key to development efforts. Demining, mine verification and the reconstruction of access roads and bridges are essential components not only of the peace process, but of the overall economic and social development of the country. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the Secretariat’s mine action plan for Angola aimed at developing a sustainable national mine-clearance capability. In this regard, no effort should be spared in allowing the South African mine verification company MECHEM to resume its operations and in guaranteeing security for the company’s personnel.
My delegation supports the call by the Secretary-General to extend the mandate on Angola in order to deal conclusively with the remaining obstacles.
There are no further speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.