The situation in Angola Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) (S/1997/438 and Add.1)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Xuexian
|Mr. Sáenz Biolley
|Mr. Lopes da Rosa
Republic of Korea
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Angola
Progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) (S/1997/438 and Add.1)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Lesotho, Mozambique and the Netherlands in which they request 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 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 progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), documents S/1997/438 and Add.1.
Members of the Council also have before them document S/1997/498, which contains the text of a draft resolution prepared in the course of the Council’s prior consultations.
The first speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of the Netherlands. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following associated countries — Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — have aligned themselves with this statement, as has Norway.
The Security Council will today be adopting a draft resolution creating a new United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), which takes over from the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) after several years of a complex peace process in Angola. In spite of problems and delays, MONUA is the result of positive developments that have taken place during the past months. The formation of a Government of National Unity and Reconciliation, the participation of UNITA deputies in the National Assembly and the beginning of the normalization of Government administration are important steps on the road to full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and constitute a good basis for the process of national reconciliation.
While some problems remain, the European Union remains optimistic about a positive outcome. It is in that spirit that we welcome the establishment of MONUA, which could make an important contribution to the return of stability and the necessary reconstruction in Angola.
The peace process remains fragile, however. Recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have increased tensions in Angola. We are concerned at the Secretary-General’s reports of “serious clashes resulting in casualties” (S/1997/438, para. 9) in north-east Angola. Both sides must cooperate with the United Nations and grant full access to all areas under their control. In particular, we call on UNITA to put an end to attacks against United Nations staff.
The pace of demobilization of UNITA soldiers, which is crucial for the success of the peace process, is still slower than originally envisaged. While the Government should create proper conditions for this process, we urge UNITA to cooperate fully with the United Nations in the demobilization of the UNITA fighters and the early completion of the new, united Angolan army.
Other military tasks, such as the elimination of all obstacles to the free circulation of people and goods and the disarmament of the civilian population, also need to be completed urgently. UNITA must provide the Joint Commission with complete information regarding its armed personnel, including the nature and size of its leader’s security contingent. Without that, UNITA will be unable to transform into a legitimate political party.
The European Union believes that an early meeting within the national territory between the President of Angola and the Leader of the Largest Opposition Party would contribute significantly to easing political tension and would help in the normalization of State administration in territories under UNITA control. It would, hopefully, also resolve the precarious military situation in the border area between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The transformation of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan broadcasting facility and the transformation of UNITA into a political party are other remaining political aspects which have to be completed.
Notwithstanding the gradual progress made in the peace process, the human rights situation in Angola is still a reason for concern. The promotion of good governance, including abidance by the rule of law and the protection of human rights, should be an integral part of activities focused on reconstruction and the normalization of State administration. MONUA will have an important role to play in the field of human rights.
In view of the unrest in northern Angola and the fact that large parts of the country are not yet under Government control, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at present considers the conditions for the return of refugees, as well as of demobilized soldiers, unfavourable. This, too, is a reason for concern. It is important that more funds be made available, both for demobilization and for UNHCR’s repatriation programmes.
I should like to conclude by paying tribute to the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and the men and women of UNAVEM III for their strenuous and unabated efforts to keep Angola on the road to a lasting peace. The personnel of UNAVEM III are to be congratulated for a job well done, which we all hope will be completed by MONUA.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Brazil. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
At the outset, let me congratulate you, Ambassador Lavrov, on this very last day of the month of June, on your presidency of the Security Council. Under your able and wise guidance the work of the Security Council has once again been conducted in a highly effective way. I am pleased to express appreciation to your predecessor, Ambassador Park, for the skill and competence with which he led the Council during the month of May.
We take this opportunity to renew our tribute to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye. He has played, as we have constantly recognized, a very active role in bridging the differences between the parties, as well as in consolidating the peace process. Again, the endeavours by the troika of observer States in helping the peace process have constituted a key factor in this process.
The United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), a major United Nations peacekeeping operation, has come to an end. Since February 1995, men and women from various countries have worked hard to consolidate the peace process in Angola. The United Nations invested a considerable amount of money and energy to help Angolans on the path to peace and reconciliation. In general terms, undoubtedly, UNAVEM III can be considered a successful peacekeeping operation. Its fragility notwithstanding, there is peace in Angola. UNITA has been largely demobilized. Since April, the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation has been ruling in Angola.
Brazil is proud of its involvement in the peace process since the very beginning. In UNAVEM III, Brazil was, for most of the time, the largest United Nations troop contributor. One infantry battalion, one engineering company, two dressing units and military and police observers were sent by Brazil to Angola. This effort represented a considerable investment that Brazil was glad to make for the cause of peace and stability in Angola. The cost cannot be measured in terms of financial resources only: five Brazilian soldiers lost their lives while serving in UNAVEM III.
In spite of all the achievements of UNAVEM III, there are still various tasks that remain to be completed. On the political side, the main challenge is the normalization of the State administration throughout the entire country. After an encouraging start, the exercise has encountered delays. It is now clear that this process will face serious logistical and psychological problems.
On the military side, the selection of UNITA members for incorporation into the Angolan National Police, the incorporation of selected UNITA military personnel into the Angolan Armed Forces, the provision of information on the strength of Mr. Savimbi’s security detachment and the demobilization and disarmament of the civilian population are unfulfilled tasks that have to be addressed seriously and promptly.
More recently, there were reports of serious clashes which resulted in casualties in the Lunda Norte region. This is a cause for concern for the international community regarding the prospects for lasting peace.
The situation clearly shows that the involvement of the United Nations should not cease with the end of the mandate of UNAVEM III. A comprehensive new mission is indispensable. In this context, Brazil warmly welcomes the creation of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). The United Nations should spare no effort in order to ensure that the progress obtained by UNAVEM III will not suffer serious setbacks. The international community should continue to assist the Angolan people in reconstructing a country ravaged by more than three decades of war.
We remain committed, in the expectation that peace and reconstruction will prevail, that the efforts of the international community will be rewarded, and that the aspirations of the Angolan people will be fulfilled.
I thank the representative of Brazil for his kind words addressed to the present and previous Presidents of the Security Council.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Angola, on whom I now call.
I will speak on behalf of my Deputy Minister. Since he has gone back home, he has asked me to speak on his behalf.
I would like to start by congratulating you, Mr. President, on your assumption of this month’s presidency of this prestigious body and, at the same time, congratulate your predecessor on his wise and dynamic performance during his mandate.
As we meet today, some areas of our continent are going through a particularly difficult and perplexing period. New hostilities have erupted within some nations. If left unsettled, they may create new dangers for peace and regional stability. Fortunately, Africa has also been registering significant advances that may contribute mightily to peaceful existence among our nations.
The recent collapse of the regime that for many decades supported the destabilization of some Central African nations has helped mitigate regional tensions and will certainly become an important factor for peace, as well as for social and political stability, in the continent. The Angolan peace process will benefit from this new, improved environment.
We are convinced that this new regional context will ensure what this Council has repeatedly demanded from Angola’s neighbours in its resolutions — namely, respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in its domestic affairs, as crucial factors for the re-establishment of peace.
After a long and difficult path, the Lusaka Protocol has finally entered its final stage. Although much still remains to be done, its positive effects are now so clearly apparent that we feel confident about the future.
As members of the Council will recall, the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation was sworn in and the Parliament has been completed. For the first time since the 1992 general elections, both are now working normally. Their inauguration, even before UNITA fully complied with its obligations, should be seen as a demonstration of flexibility, goodwill and transparency, with a view to promoting mutual confidence.
Crucial as it may be, however, the swearing in of the new Government and of the Parliament has not fulfilled all the requirements for the re-establishment of peace. Its impact on the peace process may be affected if all pending military and political matters are not resolved.
We regret to say that these pending issues have not yet been implemented due to the lack of cooperation from UNITA, in spite of its repeated promises.
UNITA continues to hold significant amounts of weapons and forces that were never reported to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). Not long ago, many of them were providing support to the regime in the former Republic of Zaire. Approximately 2,000 of them are still in Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo.
All these forces must be disarmed, confined to quarters and demobilized as soon as possible. They should receive the same treatment accorded to UNITA troops currently in the assembly areas.
The military data regarding troops and weaponry in the UNITA leader’s personal guard, estimated at 4,000 men, has not yet been provided and remains to be dismantled, although the Parliament has already granted him special status with privileges and immunity as the Leader of the Largest Opposition Party.
On the other hand, the country’s north-eastern areas have in recent times seen a massive influx of people coming from the former Republic of Zaire. They include former soldiers loyal to the former Zaire regime and members of the former Rwandese Hutu militia. The Government felt compelled to take appropriate measures to keep the country’s borders from being violated. The Government is working in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to resolve this problem.
The extension of the central State administration, jointly programmed and scheduled with UNITA, is facing obstacles. So far, the authority of the State has been extended to only 10 of the 145 places agreed upon. Obstacles and the deliberate orchestration of incidents during the process of the extension of the State administration raise questions about the seriousness of UNITA’s leadership. This Council must therefore, by all means possible, keep pressuring UNITA to comply fully with its obligations. The lack of compliance and delays in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol do not serve the cause of peace and democracy in Angola. They prevent the effective functioning of the State institutions, of which UNITA is also an integral part, and also postpone UNITA’s legalization as a political party.
It is important to establish deadlines for the implementation of the extension of the State administration programme. The permanent cooperation of UNITA is essential as is the supervision of the United Nations.
UNITA must realize that its affirmation as a political force in the Angolan political context does not depend upon its continuing to occupy parts of the territory or holding on to its military forces. Rather, it is dependent upon the establishment of the legal political framework set forth in the Lusaka Protocol.
The flexibility that the Government has demonstrated since the beginning of the implementation of the peace accords should serve as an incentive for UNITA to trust in the Government’s good faith and see it as an honest partner.
In spite of these difficulties, we look forward to a successful conclusion of the peace process. Angolans do not wish to waste the fruits of this immense effort and the many sacrifices of all those involved in the restoration of peace and in the creation of a new foundation for our development.
This Council and the international community must be vigilant in order to thwart the intentions of all those who want to keep Angola’s future hostage to the interests of individuals or groups.
Our peace is still fragile, but its positive effects on the people and the whole nation of Angola are innumerable.
Indeed, the widespread climate of fear and insecurity has been mitigated. In the economic area, inflation has been declining, important infrastructure is being rebuilt and demining efforts now allow the rehabilitation of roads and bridges. People returning to their areas of origin have started food production and many former combatants have been demobilized and reintegrated into civilian life. With the consolidation of the peace process, further accomplishments will be even more significant.
Today’s meeting sets a new stage for the United Nations presence in Angola and for the peace process itself. The replacement of UNAVEM III by the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) is not a mere technical formality. It means that the basic foundations for a future of lasting peace and democracy in Angola have been laid down. However, taking into account that the military items of the peace process are still pending, we reiterate our proposal to defer temporarily the withdrawal of the Blue Helmets until the fundamental tasks, especially the military one, are completed and the full demilitarization of UNITA is accomplished.
My Government welcomes the formation of MONUA and believes that its structure and mandate, as established by the Secretary-General’s report, are fully compatible with the future role of the United Nations in Angola. We pledge our full cooperation and support, as we did to UNAVEM.
Allow me to take this opportunity to express once again the gratitude of the people and the Government of Angola to all those Governments and Blue Helmets who served UNAVEM, some of whom lost their lives or were disabled as they fulfilled their peace mission. This was the case recently with troops from Brazil and Zimbabwe. We solemnly pay them our homage here.
Allow me also to reiterate, on behalf of my Government, our appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his commitment to Angola, to his Special Representative, Maitre Blondin Beye, and to the members of the troika of observers: Portugal, Russia and the United States.
We also wish to thank the humanitarian agencies and Governments that so generously helped to mitigate the difficulties of our people most affected by the war. Their continued support is crucial to the success of the demobilization and reintegration of the approximately 10,000 former military personnel into civilian life.
The draft resolution to be adopted today has the support of my Government, although we would prefer some improvements in its contents. We hope that it will serve as a new incentive for the consolidation of peace in my country.
I thank the representative of Angola for his kind words addressed to me and my predecessor as President of the Security Council.
The next speaker is the representative of Mozambique. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like to start by congratulating you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council and the brilliant manner in which you have conducted the affairs of the Council during the month of June. My delegation would also like to extend its sincere congratulations to your predecessor for the brilliant manner in which he conducted the deliberations of the Council.
Allow me also to express my delegation’s gratitude to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report before us today and for his relentless efforts in search of real and long-lasting peace and reconciliation in Angola.
When we last addressed the Security Council, we rejoiced over the formation of the Government of Unity and National Reconstruction in Angola as a major step towards stability and normalization of the situation in Angola and putting an end to the long years of suffering in that sister country.
On that occasion, we affirmed that the Angolan people were nearer than ever before to the final resolution of the devastating conflict and to installing a new dispensation of a well-deserved peace. We stated that, although the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation was an outstanding step towards the successful conclusion of the peace process in Angola, it could not be taken as an end in itself. The commitment and determination of both the Government of Angola and UNITA remain imperative throughout the whole process in order to ensure its successful conclusion.
With the formation of the Government of Unity and National reconciliation and the return of UNITA deputies to the National Assembly, a strong basis has been launched for the normalization of life in Angola. While commending the spirit of cooperation and tolerance demonstrated by the parties in the initial steps of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, we sincerely hope that all parties shall continue to work in close cooperation in this new phase, building confidence and resolving the tensions prevailing in some areas of the country.
We consider confidence building to be an important factor that will allow parties to continue lending their full cooperation towards the acceleration of the normalization of state administration, the completion of the demobilization of ex-combatants and their subsequent integration into society, and the conclusion of the formation of the unified army, thus consolidating national reconciliation and peace in full compliance with the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol.
We continue to believe that post-conflict peace-building is a necessary precondition for lasting peace and stability. This should include not only the immediate political, social and economic tasks, but also the medium-and long-term programmes, thus building the bridge from emergency to reconstruction and development. If such a process is carried out, the Angolan people will enjoy its benefits eternally.
The United Nations and the international community at large should remain engaged in supporting the people of Angola in overcoming these and other challenges they have to face and thus enhancing political trust and creating an environment conducive to long-lasting peace, stability and sustainable development.
My delegation has carefully examined the progress report of the Secretary-General on the third United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). We would like to welcome the recommendation of the Secretary-General contained therein on the establishment, as of 1 July 1997, of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola.
We are convinced that the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, in fulfilling its mandate, will provide the necessary international assistance for the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and the consolidation of the gains made so far in the peace process.
As the mandate of UNAVEM III is expiring today, we would like to pay special tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Blondin Beye, to all civilian, military and police staff of UNAVEM III, as well as to the other personnel of the United Nations agencies for their tireless efforts in support of the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation in Angola.
Once again, we would like to express our appreciation to all those contributing to the attainment of an enduring peace in Angola, in particular the three observer countries and troop-contributing nations, and thus bringing about an environment conducive to development not only in Angola but in the whole region of southern Africa.
I thank the representative of Mozambique for his kind words addressed to me and to my predecessor as President of the Security Council.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Lesotho. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
The Lesotho delegation has the honour to take the floor today on the agenda item concerning the situation in Angola. We in southern Africa continue to attach great importance to the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, to the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of Angola and to lasting peace for the people of Angola.
Let me begin by congratulating you, Sir, on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of June. We have clearly benefited from your wise and skilful guidance of the work of the Council during the course of the month. At the same time, I wish to pay a special tribute to your predecessor for his exemplary leadership of the work of the Council last month. Let me also take this opportunity to express my delegation’s gratitude to the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for their tireless efforts in the search for peace in Angola.
At the last meeting of this body, we applauded the inauguration of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. Spurred by this event, we urged the international community to sustain its support for the people of Angola and shared the hope that tangible and rapid progress could be made towards completing the implementation of the other aspects of the Lusaka Protocol. We remained keenly aware, however, that a great deal still had to be done before lasting peace could be achieved for the people of Angola and thus cautioned that even though the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation was an important step, it was not an end in itself.
The latest developments in Angola are quite disturbing. We are particularly concerned about reports of skirmishes between the Government forces and UNITA in the north-eastern part of Angola, which have resulted in some casualties. There is no doubt that these military tensions in the north-east have an impact on the general situation in Angola. It is imperative that all Angolans put an immediate halt to such skirmishes and rededicate themselves to consolidating the progress achieved thus far.
It is also disturbing that the much-hoped-for meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi has yet to take place. The importance of this meeting cannot be overemphasized. It is the much-needed ingredient required to show the commitment and determination of all parties to bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion. This long-overdue meeting will be a catalyst for the normalization of State administration and for building confidence and trust in the interest of national reconciliation. We therefore wish to underscore the urgency of a meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi.
While we were encouraged to note that 23,000 demilitarized soldiers had been discharged from the quartering areas, the slow progress of the demobilization of UNITA ex-combatants and the closure of the selection and demobilization centres remain causes for concern. The Secretary-General’s report shows that UNITA has once again resorted to obstructing the International Organization for Migration (IOM) activities and has hijacked its envoy. These acts of interference and obstruction are to be deplored, and this Council should once oblige UNITA to desist from such actions. It is crucial that no effort be spared to intensify demobilization in order to ensure that the process is completed by the envisaged deadline of August. We have also noted the precarious financial situation of the IOM and reiterate the Secretary-General’s appeal to the donor community to contribute generously to its efforts.
Regarding the downgrading of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) into an Observer Mission, my delegation supports the Secretary-General’s recommendations. We have all come too far and invested too much in the Angolan peace process to allow the achievements made so far to be wasted. Now that the door to peace for Angola has been opened, the international community has a moral duty to stay engaged in order to make lasting peace an irreversible reality for Angola. A careful analysis of the situation on the ground will be necessary for this Council to determine the mandate of such a follow-on Mission. In view of the reported skirmishes in the north-east region, some form of military presence will be warranted. Such a mandate should be flexible enough to allow the mission to tackle the myriad problems that are likely to arise. Among the many activities of the Observer Mission, human rights, humanitarian and public information programmes will be necessary to create conditions conducive to political stability, economic and social recovery and sustainable development.
In his report the Secretary-General informs us that despite persistent difficulties and unnecessary delays, he is generally satisfied with the spirit of cooperation and tolerance that has been displayed by both sides, even in the most difficult times. We are encouraged to see the increasing willingness of both parties to work together and hope that this spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation will prevail so that progress can be made in completing the implementation of other aspects of the Lusaka Protocol.
As the longed-for peace, progress and prosperity for the people of Angola begins to dawn, we must remember the women and men of UNAVEM III, whose day-to-day sacrifices are bringing us closer to peace. We pay a special tribute to them. Our gratitude also goes to the international donor community and to the countries of the troika for their valuable support and efforts in the struggle for peace and stability for the people of Angola.
I thank the representative of Lesotho for his kind words addressed to me and to my predecessor as President of the Security Council.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Zimbabwe and Mauritius, in which they request 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 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 next speaker on my list is the representative of Argentina. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I wish to begin, Mr. President, by conveying to you our most respectful greetings. You represent a country that has long played a central role in international affairs. The end of the cold war has enhanced your country’s great capacity to have a decisive influence on events. For those reasons, and because of your own vast professional and personal experience, we are confident that you are ideally qualified to ensure that work on this item is crowned with success.
I wish also to pay tribute to Ambassador Park of the Republic of Korea for the way in which he guided the work of the Council last month.
I cordially congratulate the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the dialogue that has made possible the transfer of Hong Kong, which we have been following closely thanks to modern communications technology.
Argentina is participating in this debate on Angola for the following reasons: first, because of our continuing commitment to international peace and security and our friendship towards the Angolan people and their democracy; secondly, because Angola is part of the Ibero-Lusitanian cultural community, with which Argentina itself is deeply identified; and finally, because we possess geographical links with Angola because of its Atlantic presence and its active participation in the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic.
Having said that, I believe that we have reason to renew our appeal to the Government of Angola and to UNITA to resolve the issues that impede the implementation of the Lusaka agreements, to bring an end to tension in the North-East of Angola, to extend State administration throughout the country, and to move forward with demobilization. In that context, we believe that a meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi would be conducive to the common objective of peace. The opportunity that has arisen with the 11 April establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation should not be wasted.
We are grateful to the Secretary-General for his most recent report, and we support the establishment of a United Nations observer mission in Angola (MONUA) to succeed the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), to whose members we pay tribute. We are confident that, through its political, civilian police, human rights and military components, MONUA will make an important contribution for the Angolan people. We therefore support the draft resolution before the Security Council, by which it would establish the observer mission.
I conclude by recalling that Angola achieved its independence through military and political struggles that took place in its territory and here in the United Nations, in the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. In both arenas, a number of countries that sit on the Security Council played a constructive, key role. Today, the problem must be addressed with the same spirit and the same determination.
I thank the representative of Argentina for the kind words he addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Mauritius. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like at the outset, Sir, to convey to you the congratulations of my delegation on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month, along with our appreciation for the excellent manner in which its work has been conducted so far. I would also like to thank your predecessor for his exemplary leadership during the month of May.
Today we shall witness another milestone in the peace process in Angola. The end of the mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and the establishment by the Council of the new follow-on United Nations observer mission in Angola (MONUA) signal a new turn in the sometimes troubled history of the implementation of the Lusaka accords.
My delegation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General and thanks him for his valuable contribution to the peace process. However, much remains to be done, and while peace may have been formally established between the Government and UNITA and while, with some notable exceptions, relative calm seems to have has prevailed in the country so far, peace unfortunately has not yet settled in the minds of all Angolans. While the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation has been formed, unity and reconciliation have yet to rest in the hearts of all Angolans.
That is why my delegation strongly supports the appeal made by the Secretary-General and by other speakers before me for Mr. Savimbi to meet President Dos Santos at the earliest possible opportunity on Angolan soil. The importance of such a meeting for the consolidation of the peace process cannot be sufficiently stressed.
The experience of my own country is quite illustrative in this respect. Shortly after a fiercely fought electoral campaign preceding my country’s independence, the leaders of the rival factions literally joined hands together, with the good offices of a friendly Government whose country is a permanent member of the Security Council. This historic reconciliation was no doubt crucial in helping to establish the necessary firm foundations on which my country’s economic development has rested.
We firmly believe that the meeting of the two leaders would signal the start of the necessary process of healing the deep psychological and political trauma left by more than 20 years of bitter internal conflict. That is why my delegation strongly supports the establishment of the observer mission, whose mandate will be precisely to assist the Angolan parties in consolidating peace and national reconciliation, to enhance confidence-building and to create an environment conducive to long-term stability, democratic development and the rehabilitation of the country.
My delegation welcomes the role of the observer mission in ensuring that after the end of the mandate of UNAVEM III, both parties will continue to respect the terms of the peace process. The recent events in the former Zaire show only too well that UNITA has not yet surrendered the bulk of its armaments and has not disbanded all of its armed elements as previously claimed. The vigilance of the Council will therefore have to continue to be exercised.
My delegation would also join others in renewing the appeal for the continued generous assistance of the international community in the humanitarian, economic and social sectors. Without such assistance, the remarkable accomplishments of the United Nations in bringing peace to Angola could be jeopardized.
Finally, my delegation would like to pay a resounding tribute to the women and the men of UNAVEM, who have contributed so much to the securing the peace in this part of Africa. We would like to make a special mention of Maître Alioune Blondin Beye, whose role and leadership have been decisive.
I thank the representative of Mauritius for the kind words he addressed to me.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I shall first give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to make statements before the voting.
Portugal associates itself with the statement made this morning by the representative of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Portugal shares the positive assessment of the peace process in Angola contained in the Secretary-General’s report. Indeed, the formation of a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the return of UNITA parliamentarians to the National Assembly, the start of normalization of State administration and the special status of the President of UNITA all are milestones in the Angolan peace process.
These important achievements were obtained with the firm engagement and support of the international community, and particularly of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), and the tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Beye.
My delegation would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the exemplary efforts of Maître Beye and the staff of UNAVEM III, whose diligence and patience have overcome countless obstacles, including that most difficult one to conquer — despair that there will ever be peace. The United Nations should be justly proud of the work that UNAVEM III has done in Angola in support of peace and national reconciliation.
Certain things, however, remain to be done, and problems do persist. As the Secretary-General points out in his report, the road towards lasting peace in Angola remains a difficult one. Portugal believes that the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) is the right response to the current situation in Angola. It will permit the United Nations to remain engaged in the process, which is still fragile. On the other hand, the Angolans must get the message that they must seize this opportunity to consolidate peace. A return to war will not be tolerated by the international community.
We hope that the long-awaited meeting inside Angola between President José Eduardo Dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi will take place as soon as possible. My delegation believes that this meeting will contribute decisively to the completion of the remaining political and military aspects of the peace process.
Despite the ongoing tensions in north-east Angola, the manner in which both the Government and UNITA leadership have been dealing with each other shows that they may have learned something from bitter experience about the virtues of restraint and dialogue. The same could certainly be said about their constructive cooperation within the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. We urge them to continue to follow this pattern.
The different components of MONUA will play a crucial role in this important stage of the peace process. In particular, the monitoring of human rights and humanitarian aspects will have a long-term effect on the type of post-war society that will emerge in Angola. In this context, we fully support the strengthening of the police component of MONUA as well as its political assistance for promotion of tolerance and national reconciliation.
Portugal will be participating fully in MONUA, as it will be providing the Mission’s medical unit as well as military and civilian police observers. We have also pledged funds to the International Organization for Migration for demobilization and social reintegration programmes and urge other countries to contribute as well.
MONUA can play a vital role in enhancing confidence and creating an atmosphere of trust, which is needed to pave the way for democratic consolidation, including the rule of law, and the economic rehabilitation of the country. My country will continue to intensify its bilateral programmes of cooperation with the Government of Angola.
With regard to the military aspects of this follow-on operation, we share the Secretary-General’s view that the pace of withdrawal of United Nations military forces on the ground must be dictated by the situation in Angola and the progress in consolidating peace rather than by external budgetary constraints. After investing so heavily in peace for Angola — MONUA will be the fourth United Nations operation there — the United Nations should stay the course, which is hopefully nearing its destination.
Recent developments in the area have underlined the importance of peace and national reconciliation in Angola for stability and security in the wider region. The international community, in the interest of security in the region, must therefore support the conclusion of the peace process in Angola. The establishment of MONUA is an important step in that direction.
The French delegation will support the draft resolution we are about to vote on, which will establish the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). The draft is explicit regarding recent developments in the situation in Angola and the goal of the new Mission. For that reason, the French delegation will limit itself to a few observations.
The formation last April of a Government of national unity and the integration within the Parliament of the UNITA deputies marked a decisive turning point on the path of reconciliation. UNITA has begun to participate in political life in a consistent and peaceful manner.
Not surprisingly, the events in the former Zaire have had repercussions in Angola. A shock wave has once again swept the Angolan parties onto the path of confrontation. This confrontation, however, could have been even more serious. Up to now, escalation has been avoided. This can be explained by the fact that important stages had been previously completed on the path towards reconciliation.
Recent tensions, however, have shown that the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol were still being flouted, primarily by UNITA, and that, for example, it still retains significant military strength. UNITA must abide by its obligations and understand that only participation in political life can provide it with prospects for the future. The Angolan Government will facilitate the harmonious development of the situation by adopting an attitude of restraint and strict respect for the Lusaka Protocol. The Government of Angola can count on the determination of the French authorities to assist it in its work of rebuilding a reconciled Angola.
In conclusion, I should like to pay tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Beye, whose energy, determination and diplomatic skill have greatly contributed to the progress of the Angolan peace process.
The United Kingdom shares the Secretary-General’s assessment of the situation in Angola. We support his recommendation to withdraw the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and to establish a follow-on United Nations observer mission. We agree that the operation should retain a military element while demobilization continues, in order to provide much-needed stability. We also welcome the increased capacity for monitoring and investigating human rights abuses.
This is an important moment for Angola. The move from a peacekeeping operation to an observer mission is, in itself, recognition of important progress in the peace process. A new Government of Unity and National Reconciliation has been formed, and UNITA deputies have now joined the National Assembly. We commend the spirit of cooperation and tolerance in which these events have taken place.
But we are concerned at the slow pace of extending State administration and at the continuing mood of mistrust between the parties. The initial positive momentum must be regained and maintained to ensure long-term peace and stability. Both parties need to pursue a constructive dialogue in order to achieve this. In this context, we urge President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi to meet as early as possible.
In recent weeks military clashes have jeopardized the peace process. We are concerned at the build-up of military forces in northern Angola. Tensions clearly remain high. We hope that the remaining United Nations military presence will help to prevent renewed hostilities and that they will be given full access to areas which they wish to investigate.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General has drawn our attention to attacks by UNITA against the staff of UNAVEM III. These are totally unacceptable. All United Nations staff must be accorded complete safety and security.
We agree with the Secretary-General that there is an urgent need to complete the demobilization process without further delay. This is an issue to which the United Kingdom attaches great importance. Since 1995, including food aid, the United Kingdom has provided over $8 million towards the demobilization process, of which over $1.5 million has gone directly to the International Organization for Migration. We are aware of their continuing needs, and we are taking these into account in considering our response to the United Nations consolidated appeal for Angola for 1997.
Finally, as the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola begins we would like to pay particular tribute to the Special Representative and to the men and women of UNAVEM III for their work in bringing peace and stability to Angola. Forty-one members of the Mission have been injured in the course of duty, and 32 have died. But they have each made a significant difference to the lives of all Angolans and to their future prospects. They deserve our unreserved thanks for a job well done in difficult and dangerous circumstances. We look to the leaders of Angola to ensure that the efforts and sacrifices of the United Nations were not in vain.
Let me, at the very outset, state that Kenya will fully support the draft resolution before us. We believe that the draft resolution is an important one, for it will establish the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), the follow-on Mission which will sustain an international presence in that country after the expiry of the current mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) today.
For many years now, the United Nations has played a lead role in the search for peace in Angola, beginning with the first Mission, UNAVEM I, in 1989. That Mission successfully completed its tasks and helped usher in UNAVEM II and UNAVEM III. Kenya is proud to have contributed to the success of these missions by providing personnel, financial contributions and political support.
Since its establishment, UNAVEM III — the largest peacekeeping operation ever — has made important contributions to the peace process in Angola. UNAVEM III has been actively involved in verifying the status of the ceasefire, providing good offices, defusing tensions, enhancing confidence-building, escorting civilian convoys and performing engineering and other essential tasks. Last April, as a result of concerted efforts by many actors, including UNAVEM III, the Angolan parties agreed to instal the long-awaited Government of Unity and National Reconciliation.
Nevertheless, when the mandate of UNAVEM III expires today, it will leave certain political and military aspects of the peace process uncompleted. The political aspects include the normalization of State administration throughout the territory, the regularization of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan broadcasting facility and the transformation of UNITA into a political party. The military aspects include the demobilization of ex-UNITA combatants and their reintegration into society, the dismantling of illegal checkpoints and the disarmament of the civilian population.
My delegation, attaches great importance to the implementation of these tasks in the shortest time possible. We believe that these tasks remain critical to the success of the overall peace process. Their implementation must depend on the political will and commitment of the Angolan leaders.
The general security situation in Angola remains worrisome. In recent weeks, the Government has reinforced its troops in the northern provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul, apparently to control the flow of armed elements infiltrating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While the Government has the sovereign right to move its troops within its borders, we are concerned that this military activity might affect the fragile balance that maintains the ceasefire. We are also concerned that such military activity will negatively affect the work of international organizations working there, as happened last month when personnel of UNAVEM III and of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were denied freedom of movement in the affected areas.
My delegation has also noted the attacks of banditry that persist in other parts of the country, especially Benguela and Huila provinces, including the one in which a corporal from the Brazilian battalion of UNAVEM III was killed on 19 May 1997. We call on the Government and UNITA to cooperate in resolving these security situations. We once again reiterate our earlier appeal for the convening of a meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi to resolve these and other issues. We continue to believe that the holding of such a meeting — indeed, such meetings — in the future is vital in this formative stage of the peace process.
In conclusion, we wish to thank the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, and the staff of UNAVEM III for their dedicated service to the cause of peace in Angola. We hope that MONUA will be equally successful. We also wish to pay tribute to the troika of observer States and all others that have remained committed to the peace process. We encourage them to continue to render their support until the end.
The developments in Angola over the last few weeks have been a source of concern for the international community. Despite the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation last April, the situation in Angola remains tense. With many difficult tasks yet to be completed, the Angolan peace process is still suffering from persistent political divisions and mistrust between the parties and serious logistical and psychological problems. UNITA’s full cooperation with respect to military matters is all the more urgently called for in the light of the recent developments which vividly show that it still maintains a significant military capability.
We are concerned that these problems, unless properly addressed, may once again hamper the peace process. Under these circumstances, we believe that United Nations presence in Angola should be maintained to ensure further progress in the peace process. In this context, we support the establishment of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), succeeding the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), as recommended by the Secretary-General, and will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council.
Today, as we open a new chapter in the Angolan peace process by establishing MONUA, we would like to underline once again that genuine national reconciliation, the consolidation of peace and development lie in the hands of the parties and the people of Angola. The international community can help the Angolan people to promote their well-being in peace, but it can never replace the firm commitment and determination required of the Angolan people, which are essential for their nation-building.
Indeed, the consolidation of peace and reconciliation in a country torn by more than 20 years of civil war will be an arduous and time-consuming process. However, this will not be an impossible thing to achieve. We urge the Angolan parties not to try to win the war with weapons, but to win peace through dialogue. It is in this regard that we attach great importance to a prompt tête-a-tête between President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, as mentioned in paragraph 14 of the draft resolution before us.
We trust that the mandate of MONUA will be carried out in a well-planned and coordinated manner to lay a solid basis for the new stage of the Angolan peace process. In this regard, we believe that the Security Council should continue to monitor closely the situation in Angola and the activities of MONUA.
We would also like to use this occasion to urge the Angolan parties, in particular UNITA, to desist from any action, including the use of force, which may adversely affect the future of the peace process or endanger the safety of MONUA or any other international personnel.
In closing, we congratulate UNAVEM III on having successfully discharged its mandate despite the delays in the Angolan peace process that it has faced during its existence over the last two-and-a-half years. A lasting peace in Angola is close at hand. We pay tribute to the valiant men and women of UNAVEM III for this achievement. We also pay tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Beye, the troika of observer countries and all others who have devoted themselves to the cause of peace in Angola.
We are most gratified at the important progress achieved in the peace process, including the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the return of UNITA legislators to the National Assembly and the publication of the law on the special status of the leader of the main opposition party.
The establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation in Angola is an historic milestone which the Government of Chile welcomes, as does the entire international community.
Although calm has continued to prevail in the country, we are very concerned at the information we have received regarding troop movement and clashes in the northern region. It would be regrettable if events that have taken place in the region, but outside the territory of Angola, were adversely to affect the process of consolidating peace in Angola.
Likewise, we are concerned at tasks that still need to be carried out in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol. In military terms, these include the incorporation of members of UNITA into the national police and the armed forces, and the demobilization and disarmament of the civilian population. In political terms, they include normalization of the State administration throughout the country, legalization of UNITA as a political party and a prompt meeting on Angolan territory between President Dos Santos and the leader of UNITA, Mr. Savimbi.
The Secretary-General has proposed a successor operation to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), to be called the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), whose overall mandate will be to provide assistance to the parties in the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation.
The fact that we are able to move on to this new operation indicates to us that a phase in the recent history of Angola is coming to an end on the ground and that we are entering a period of the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation. This is the beginning of a period during which Angolans and the international community must invest all their efforts in the development of the country.
For the foregoing reasons, my delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution under consideration.
I would not wish to conclude my statement without first expressing thanks to Mr. Beye and all the men and women who have participated in UNAVEM, as part of the United Nations system or through humanitarian agencies, for the valuable work they have carried out in Angola in the interests of peace. We are also grateful to the Governments of Portugal, the United States of America and the Russian Federation for their mediation efforts and to all States that have cooperated with Angola.
The progress in the peace process in Angola is indeed significant. When the Security Council last convened in its chamber to discuss the situation in that country, my delegation, like others, expressed satisfaction that the parties had finally undertaken the long-overdue measures to make good their commitments. In the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the return of the deputies of UNITA to the National Assembly and the enactment of the law on the special status of the President of UNITA, we wanted to see evidence of a decisive breakthrough in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We believe that this optimism of ours has not been unjustified, and we hope that the parties concerned in Angola and UNITA, first and foremost, will not be trying to outmanoeuvre each other and that they will work together for the future of their country.
In the political field, the expansion and normalization of the State administration in the country is the first priority and of paramount importance for the future of the peace process. We are concerned at the frustratingly uneven pace of the governmental structures installing themselves throughout the country. My delegation urges the members of UNITA immediately to stop obstructing this process. We are also anxious about the continuing dissemination by UNITA of hostile information which negatively influences the political atmosphere in the country.
With regard to the military aspects of the peace process, my delegation regrets again having to make critical comments as to the disarmament of the civilian population as well as the finalization of the process of demobilizing ex-combatants. One more observation seems to be justified at this juncture — the failure of UNITA to provide information about the strength of Mr. Savimbi’s security guards, including weapons in their possession. This is important in the light of numerous indications that, contrary to obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, UNITA is anxious to preserve its military potential. We call on UNITA to get rid of its armed potential, as it agreed, and to transform itself into a political party.
The negative impact of the situation in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo on the relationship between the parties in Angola causes us concern. As have others, we have taken note of the recent increase in tensions in the northern provinces of the country. Here again, we believe that the best way to eliminate problems or, better still, to avoid them, is to implement the relevant agreements to the letter. The Government of Angola should, as was stipulated in the Lusaka Protocol, notify the United Nations peacekeeping operation of each movement of its troops. In our view, this measure would certainly help to defuse unnecessary tensions.
My delegation is convinced that the situation in Angola calls even more than before for President Dos Santos and Dr. Savimbi to get together and to talk to each other directly, without intermediaries and without using propaganda tools. Their meeting is, in our view, indispensable for easing tensions and thus speeding up the peace process.
Our delegation fully supports the idea of transforming UNAVEM III into the mission whose acronym is MONUA, and we are going to vote for the draft resolution. We agree with the Secretary-General that under the present circumstances, the mandate of this follow-up mission should include, among other tasks, assisting the Angolan parties in the consolidation of peace, enhancing confidence-building and creating an environment conducive to the overall development of the country. We fully support the Council’s decision to make further extension of the mandate dependent on the parties’ ability to work together in the spirit of their agreement. We believe, for the same reasons, that the new mission needs to retain some military potential, at least for the time being. Consequently, the Secretary-General should be entrusted, as envisaged in the draft before us, with the task of implementing the scheduled withdrawal of UNAVEM military units, in consistency with his assessment of the situation on the ground and in line with progress in completing the remaining part of the peace process. Allow me to take this opportunity to emphasize, as we always do, the importance of the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the mission the Council is about to establish.
My delegation shares the Secretary-General’s opinion that his Special Representative, who proved to be capable of playing a vital role in the peace process in Angola and whose efforts we highly appreciate, should further assist the parties. It is important that the Special Representative continue his cooperation with the observer States of the peace process as well as with regional States and their organizations. Such cooperation will be even more important after the termination of UNAVEM III.
We also share the Secretary-General’s view concerning the parties’ request to enhance the presence of human rights observers and related United Nations activities in Angola.
With the mandate of UNAVEM III coming to a conclusion, my delegation would like to pay tribute and express its gratitude to the personnel of this peacekeeping operation. However volatile the situation in Angola remains, their contribution to the better, peaceful future of that country cannot be overestimated. We are proud that the group of Polish military observers, working hand in hand with their colleagues from other countries, has had the chance to be instrumental in achieving so much.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the States observers to the Angolan peace process for their work and guidance.
Finally, I wish to point out that Poland has associated itself with the statement of the delegation of the Netherlands, delivered on behalf of the European Union.
A decisive stage has just come to a close in Angola. The progress registered to date in the peace process would not have been possible without the activity of the Secretary-General, who, immediately upon taking office, began to work with determination, with the support of his Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye, the personnel of the third United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and the countries members of the troika, all of whom have actively striven together to achieve a settlement to the problem of Angola. Guinea-Bissau is deeply interested in the success and progress of the peace process in Angola.
The international community has been fully involved in the search for a solution to the Angolan crisis. Considerable financial means have been necessary to ensure the proper unfolding of this peacekeeping operation, considered to be the most important to date. This reflects the magnitude of our responsibility to continue to see that everything occur as planned towards the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.
However, it is critical that our Angolan brothers work to complete the remaining tasks under the peace accords, because the international community cannot accept the indefinite perpetuation of the peace process. Indeed, very important stages lie ahead, particularly the conclusion of the final political aspects of the peace process. These include the normalization of state administration throughout the national territory; the transformation of UNITA’s radio into a non-partisan station; the completion of the formation of the Angolan Armed Forces; the integration of UNITA personnel into the National Police; the demobilization and reintegration of the ex-combatants; and the removal of mines and other explosive devices. These are currently some of the areas that require the Council’s urgent attention. In my delegation’s opinion, the accomplishment of these tasks will ensure the political and military stability of the country.
My delegation notes with some satisfaction that Angola is advancing step by step towards peace. But we are nevertheless concerned by the recent turn of events described to the members of the Council by Maître Blondin Beye on 27 June. We are indeed deeply concerned over the repeated hindrances and numerous acts of hostility directed against UNAVEM III in its implementation of its mandate. We call on the parties to cooperate unconditionally with the Mission and to refrain from any act that could hamper the pursuit of its mandate.
My delegation, like others, believes that only the determined political resolve of the parties to implement the entire peace agreement will allow irreversible progress to be made.
As our delegation has already had the opportunity to say, if peace in Angola is to be consolidated and lasting, all Angolans must contribute to a national movement to bring all the available competencies to bear in perfect synergy.
International assistance will certainly be required for a long time to come. We therefore support the analysis and recommendations contained in the most recent reports of the Secretary-General.
We support the Secretary-General’s proposal to create, as of 1 July 1997, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). We believe that it deserves our full consideration, insofar as it takes into account the need to maintain the established political equilibrium and to create the conditions necessary to allowing the Angolans themselves to take charge of their destiny. This Mission will also help the Angolans to perfect their new system of Government, amongst whose largest responsibilities is to guarantee all citizens the full enjoyment of their civil and political rights.
In the light of the important role of the Mission, my country, Guinea-Bissau, will support the draft resolution before us.
In conclusion, we should like once again to express the hope that President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will have the opportunity to meet as soon as possible to establish that climate of confidence so sorely needed to strengthen peace in Angola.
On 16 April, the Security Council met to adopt resolution 1106 (1997) to extend for the last time the mandate of the third United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) for three months, as it welcomed the major breakthrough that had just been achieved in the Angolan peace process through the inauguration of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation.
While my delegation shares the positive assessment of this felicitous development, I am obliged to note that the recent turn of events in Angola would seem to offer us a cause for some serious concern. Tensions have risen in the northern part of the country. UNAVEM III personnel have been restricted in their movements to this region and have also been the targets of attack. The extension of state administration to the areas formerly under UNITA control is proceeding slowly in the face of UNITA resistance. UNITA has yet to transform itself into a political party and it has become evident that it has retained substantial military forces, despite its declaration last December to the contrary. Demobilization has been disrupted and remains incomplete.
In those circumstances, my delegation believes that it is appropriate for the Security Council to call on the Angolan Government, and particularly on UNITA, to strictly refrain from jeopardizing the peace process and to urge them with a sense of urgency to complete the remaining military and political aspects of the peace process. In this context, we strongly hope that President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will meet in Angola as soon as possible in an effort to establish a relationship of mutual confidence and cooperation.
Japan is convinced that, at this stage of developments in the peace process, the Angolan people should be given continued encouragement and support from the international community for the full implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and for the completion of the peace process. For this reason, Japan supports the draft resolution now before us. By this draft resolution, the Security Council is deciding that the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) should take over the mission of completing the peace process after the withdrawal of UNAVEM III, which has carried out its very successful mission. As indicated in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the draft resolution, it is important that the departure of the formed military units of UNAVEM III be carefully determined in accordance with the remaining tasks of the peace process and in the light of developments in the situation on the ground.
My delegation believes that in order for the Angolan peace process to progress to the next stage, the support of the international community as well as the political will of the parties for the complete demilitarization of combatants and their reintegration will be essential. With a keen awareness of the paramount importance of this factor, the Government of Japan decided, on 27 June, to make an additional contribution of $1.3 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in support of its demobilization activities. This is in addition to assistance that we provided earlier for the removal of landmines and the repatriation and resettlement of Angolan refugees. In so doing, we hope that other donor countries will likewise offer active assistance to Angola through the IOM and other channels.
It bears emphasizing time and again that in the final analysis, peace in Angola can be realized and consolidated only by the Angolan people themselves, and in particular by their political leaders. We in Japan sincerely hope that they will exert their best efforts for the complete implementation of the peace process in all sincerity so that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of that country may become a reality as soon as possible, with the blessing and cooperation of the international community.
In closing, I should like to express the sincere appreciation of Japan to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Blondin Beye, as well as to the Secretary-General himself, for their tireless efforts exerted on behalf of the Angolan peace process. We earnestly hope that Maître Beye will continue to play an indispensable role as the Chairman of the Joint Commission.
Let me, first of all, say that my delegation stands fully behind the statement of the Netherlands made this morning on behalf of the European Union.
The decision today to establish the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), marks the beginning of a new phase in the United Nations involvement in the support of the Angolan peace process. This is an important and challenging step, made possible by recent progress in the peace process.
MONUA will play an important role in ensuring a more secure and stable political environment in Angola. Sweden welcomes the fact that the main focus of this new mission will be the civilian aspects of the peace process. The tasks given are appropriate to the circumstances now prevailing in Angola. Not least important is the fact that the mandate of MONUA complies with the parties’ request for an enhanced presence of human rights observers in the country. Respect for human rights is essential to the process of national reconciliation.
The international community will continue to assist the people of Angola, as it has in the past. For its part, Sweden has committed itself to continuing to provide assistance to Angola. However, the ultimate responsibility for restoring peace and stability in the country rests with the Angolans themselves. We urge the parties to seize the opportunity before them and implement fully their remaining obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, thereby enabling the true consolidation of the peace process.
There are crucial challenges ahead. Progress in the normalization of State administration will be key to progress in other areas of the peace process. Particular attention also needs to be given to the rapid completion of remaining military tasks. The resolution before us demands that UNITA provide the Joint Commission with full information about the armed personnel under its control, so that they can be disarmed and demobilized in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol.
Despite significant progress in the peace process, we remain deeply concerned about the reports of clashes between the parties in the northeastern parts of Angola. The parties must refrain from any military or other action which could jeopardize lasting peace in the country.
The security situation is still far from satisfactory in many parts of Angola. In its decision today, the Council underlines the need to make sure that developments on the ground and progress in the peace process are taken into account when the scheduled withdrawal of the United Nations formed military units is implemented. This will be important to the success of MONUA. We therefore welcome the review of the situation scheduled for August. The parties must guarantee the freedom of movement and safety of the personnel of the new mission, as well as of other United Nations staff. In particular, recent harassment of United Nations personnel by UNITA must end.
Clearly, it is now time for President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi to show their continued commitment to the peace process by meeting in person as soon as possible and on national territory. We urge them to do so. It is our firm belief that such a meeting could lead to further progress on the road towards national reconciliation.
In conclusion, Sweden reiterates its gratitude to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Blondin Beye, the three observer States — Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States — as well as the personnel of UNAVEM III for their efforts to assist the parties in Angola to advance the peace process.
I would like at the outset to extend my thanks to the Secretary-General for the important recommendations and valuable remarks contained in his latest progress report on the situation in Angola. I would also like to express our most profound appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Blondin Beye, for the constructive and sincere efforts he has made and continues to make towards establishing peace in Angola.
We meet here today following a number of positive developments in Angola. Such developments should neither be denied nor underestimated, particularly on a political level. It has become clear that the peace process in Angola has entered its last crucial stages. All that remains to be resolved is the setting of certain pending military issues. We hope that the anticipated meeting in Angola between President dos Santos and Dr. Savimbi will contribute to the settlement of these questions.
It is the view of the Egyptian delegation that the breaking of the current stalemate, which is obstructing the complete implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, hinges on the strong political will of UNITA to be transformed into a political party and abandon war options as well as all practices that slow the implementation of the peace accord. We are convinced that this will not be possible unless the international community brings pressure to bear on UNITA’s leadership.
Egypt has followed with concern the escalation of tension in the northern parts of Angola in recent weeks. In this connection, we would like to express our agreement with the assessment made two days ago by Maître Beye that the only guarantee of the non-recurrence of tension in the area will be the Angolan Government’s ability to extend full military and administrative control over all its lands.
In this connection, the Egyptian delegation would like to emphasize how important it is for the international community to consider seriously UNITA’s remaining and undeniable military capabilities. It is also important that it monitor the liquidation of its special guard forces and “mining police”.
My delegation supports the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report regarding the establishment of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). Its mandate will begin tomorrow, as stipulated in section VII of the report. In this connection, we wish to highlight the importance of maintaining military units within the new mission until all the military questions to which I referred are resolved. I believe this opinion is shared by a number of countries contributing either military observers or police to MONUA. There is no point in unnecessarily exposing their lives to danger.
The demobilization of some 100,000 soldiers by both parties and their reintegration into civilian life pose a challenge that is obstructing the implementation of the peace agreements. Here we support the participation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the development and implementation of training and employment projects that will have an impact in the very short term, in order to absorb demobilized soldiers. Such programmes are vital, particularly in a country with an unemployment rate of 45 per cent. We hope that donor countries will offer technical and financial assistance so that these programmes can be implemented without further delay.
My delegation reiterates its full support for and appreciation of the work of UNDP and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs in the implementation of plans to develop Angola’s national capacity to carry out demining. We hope that UNITA will help in reopening the main roads that remain closed. Assistance in demining is one of the achievements of UNAVEM III, and we are duty-bound to commend its performance and the sacrifices made by its personnel over the years.
We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the establishment of a United Nations observer mission in Angola with an initial mandate through October 1997. The Egyptian delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council.
On behalf of the delegation of Costa Rica, I wish to express the deepest gratitude to United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and all its personnel, and to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, for their extensive work on the Angolan peace process. Costa Rica wishes to express its satisfaction at the ongoing endeavours for Angola of the Secretary-General and the entire Organization, and to commend the three observer States for their broad cooperation towards bringing about the success of the peace process.
The establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the demobilization of ex-combatants of UNITA and the extension of State authority throughout Angolan territory are the basic pillars for the consolidation of peace and democracy. These will serve as the basis for the prosperity and well-being that the people of Angola so deserve. Nevertheless, Costa Rica is concerned that military clashes continue in northern Angola between Government forces and unidentified armed groups. These clashes pose a serious threat to the peace process and must stop immediately. Moreover, my country considers that UNITA must provide full information on its armed forces and its weapons so that Angola can take a step towards full democracy and national reconciliation, in which the constructive contest of ideas will replace the clash of weapons. Here it is urgent that a meeting between President Dos Santos and the President of UNITA be held; Costa Rica urges them to meet, on Angolan territory, as soon as possible.
Costa Rica stresses the need to accelerate the demobilization of ex-combatants and their integration into the Angolan Armed Forces, in accordance with the Lusaka accords. For this process to be truly successful, much assistance will be needed to integrate ex-combatants into civil society so that they can contribute to progress of Angola. If demobilization failed, the peace process would be at great risk, as we have observed in other places.
The conclusion of the mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) must not mean an end of United Nations support for the peace process in Angola. To the contrary, in the light of the positive changes taking place in the country, it must mean a reorientation of the international community’s assistance. In this regard, the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the establishment of a United Nations observer mission in Angola (MONUA) is most apt. Costa Rica supports that recommendation, in the certainty that it will continue the work of UNAVEM III in this new step of the peace process with the same degree of success. My country will therefore vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Security Council.
In this new stage of the peace process in Angola, the rule of law and full respect for human rights must be strengthened in a framework of tolerance and democracy, opening the way to prosperity and a better future for all the Angolan people. To that end, Costa Rica believes that it is of the greatest importance to continue the presence of the international community, represented by MONUA, in order to achieve full implementation of the Lusaka agreements.
Let me begin by thanking the representative of Argentina for his congratulations on the return of Hong Kong to China.
We are pleased to see the positive momentum in the Angolan peace process since the beginning of this year. I note that the representative of Angola, speaking on behalf of his Deputy Minister, expressed confidence in the future of Angola. This is encouraging. Yet we are also concerned about the outbreak of military conflicts in some parts of Angola and the failure to complete the demobilization of UNITA military personnel.
Practice has proved that only when there is a peaceful and stable environment can efforts be concentrated on economic and social development. Years of war have devastated Angola, a richly endowed country with a vast territory. Today the dawn of peace has already appeared on the horizon of Angola. We sincerely hope that the Angolan Government, and UNITA in particular, will, in the fundamental interests of the people of their country and in a continued spirit of unity and cooperation, seize the historic opportunity to complete as soon as possible the pending tasks in the political and military fields and achieve national reconciliation at an early date, thus paving the way for national reconstruction and development in the country.
The settlement of the Angolan question will ultimately rest with the Angolan people themselves. However, the international community also has the responsibility to promote the peace process in Angola and facilitate Angola’s efforts to achieve national reconciliation at an early date. At present, the Angolan peace process is at a critical juncture and is in dire need of vigorous support from the international community, including the United Nations. Therefore, we support in principle the Secretary-General’s recommendation to establish a United Nations observer mission in Angola (MONUA) and hope that its establishment will help promote the peace process and ultimately national reconciliation in Angola. At the same time, I wish also to point out that, as a principle, the Security Council should not get involved in matters that fall within the terms of reference of other United Nations bodies. China has different views regarding certain of the functions that the Council would be authorizing for MONUA. We therefore have reservations on certain provisions of the draft resolution before us. However, in order to help bring about peace and development in Angola at an early date, and considering the desires of Angola and the other parties concerned, we will vote in favour of the draft resolution.
We hope that the Angolan Government and UNITA will cooperate with MONUA to complete the peace process smoothly. We also hope that other parties concerned, including African countries, will continue to play an active role in the Angolan peace process. The Chinese Government will work together with the international community to that end.
Finally, the Chinese delegation wishes to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the personnel of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and thank them for their contribution to helping Angola to achieve peace and national reconciliation.
The United States is pleased to join with other members of the Security Council in support of this draft resolution, which inaugurates a new phase in United Nations involvement in Angola’s peace process. We wish the new United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) success in overseeing the accomplishment of the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol, foremost among them the normalization by peaceful means of State administration throughout the national territory.
The establishment of this new Mission is a tribute to the success of its predecessor, the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), which, with its 7,000 troops, upheld the ceasefire, safely disarmed and demobilized more than 60,000 combatants, and brought relative peace to Angola after decades of brutal conflict. We extend our thanks to the personnel of UNAVEM III and to the troop contributors for a job well done. We also express our gratitude to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Beye, for his tireless work.
On the occasion of the inauguration of this new United Nations Mission, the United States calls on the Government of Angola and on UNITA to complete the process of peace and national reconciliation. We urge the Government of Angola to exhibit restraint as the peace process enters its final phase. We have been concerned by troop movements and by ceasefire violations in the north-eastern provinces, and we call on the Government of Angola to desist immediately from unilateral military actions outside the Lusaka framework. Procedures for the normalization of Government control are clearly defined in the Lusaka Protocol and must be followed.
We also believe that agreement regarding national symbols would contribute to the national reconciliation process. We urge UNITA fully and immediately to complete the political and military tasks it agreed to in Lusaka. It will have our support to the extent that it does so. We understand UNITA’s security concerns and intend to stay engaged in ensuring that both parties abide by their mutual security guarantees, but it is long overdue for UNITA to declare, to disarm and to demobilize its armed elements and to bring UNITA into the mainstream of a peaceful political process.
Finally, we urge President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi to meet in Angola immediately and regularly until a solution has been reached to all outstanding issues. The international community wants to stop expending scarce and precious resources providing troops to stand between armed factions. We want to turn those resources to reconstructing roads and bridges, hospitals, schools and other elements of the infrastructure Angola will need to achieve the prosperity it deserves and can attain.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of the Russian Federation.
Russia, a member of the troika of observers to the Angolan settlement and a troop contributor to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), is keenly interested in the successful progress of the peace process and the speedy restoration in that country of lasting peace and national reconciliation.
The draft resolution to be adopted by the Security Council on the transition from UNAVEM III to the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) is of significant importance for achieving these goals. The draft resolution is specifically targeted, focusing the attention of the Angolan parties on the priority political and military questions of the settlement that they must resolve.
Of particular concern here to all members of the Council is the tense situation in the north-eastern regions that has arisen as a result of the penetration into the territory of Angola of armed soldiers of UNITA, the former Rwandan Government Forces and the former Mobuto army and of attempts by UNITA to achieve, despite the Lusaka Protocol, significant military potential.
Against this background, we attach particular significance to the provisions of the draft resolution concerning the unimpeded extension throughout the national territory of the country of the State administration established in April of the Government and Unity and National Reconciliation, and the demand that UNITA immediately provide complete information regarding all armed personnel under its control for the purpose of verification, disarmament and demobilization, in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol.
The peace process in Angola could long ago have reached the finish line had the leadership of UNITA taken a more constructive position and conscientiously implemented the obligations that it had undertaken. The coming months will be decisive for the fate of the peace process as a whole. There must be no let-up of the carefully measured pressure on the parties to a settlement, above all on UNITA, to prompt them fully to implement the Lusaka Protocol and the agreements they have reached.
The draft resolution provides both opportunity for effective monitoring of the course of the peace process and also for the adjustments necessary for the planned schedule of withdrawal of United Nations troops from Angola.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
I shall now put to the vote the draft resolution contained in document S/1997/498.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Chile, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Kenya, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1118 (1997).
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 thank you, Sir, for giving me the floor at this eleventh hour and to apologize for the fact that I was unable to take the floor at the time that countries participating under rule 37 were making their contributions.
The Government and people of Zimbabwe have continued to follow developments in Angola with great attention and immense interest. My delegation is therefore pleased to participate in this open debate on the situation in Angola.
Following the formation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, we were greatly encouraged by the holding of the first meeting of the Council of Ministers on 18 April and by the convening on 22 April of a plenary session of the National Assembly at which several deputies, including UNITA members, were elected to posts in various parliamentary commissions.
Despite the recent apprehensions over tensions caused by developments both inside Angola and in the neighbouring subregion of Central Africa, we remain optimistic that the peace process in Angola will not only remain on course but also eventually bring tranquillity and stability to that country. We are therefore in happy agreement with the Secretary-General that despite persistent difficulties and delays, events in Angola have generally been moving in a positive direction.
We appeal to the Government of Angola and to UNITA to resolve all lingering threats to the peace process in the same selfless spirit of cooperation and tolerance which characterized the initial steps of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. In this regard, we look forward to more progress in the normalization of State administration in all areas, particularly those which were under UNITA control; the demobilization of ex-combatants; and the formation of the unified Angolan Armed Forces. We also call upon all those who can make a contribution to maintain and pursue an intensive and relentless public-awareness campaign towards the effective narrowing and eventual elimination of the psychological and political barriers which still exist within the Angolan community.
When the Security Council last met formally on the question of Angola, my delegation wholeheartedly welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations with regard to the creation of an Observer Mission to succeed the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). We also supported the Council’s decision to consider the Secretary-General’s specific proposals at this current stage. In this regard, and having studied the objectives, the mandate and the organizational structure recommended by the Secretary-General in section VII of his report contained in document S/1997/438, my delegation unreservedly supports the creation of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). Zimbabwe’s personnel who participated in UNAVEM III under the overall command of Major-General Sibanda of Zimbabwe, remain available to the Observer Mission.
Zimbabwe is confident that this careful and systematic transition in the United Nations involvement in Angola will afford the people of that country the political, moral and even psychological support they need as they incrementally tighten their own grip on the reins of peace. We urge the Government of Angola, and in particular UNITA, to make haste and complete the remaining political and military aspects of the peace process, including the normalization of State administration throughout the national territory in accordance with the agreed timetable and procedures; the transformation of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan broadcasting facility; the registration and demobilization of all remaining military elements; the elimination of all obstacles to the free circulation of people and goods; and the disarmament of the civilian population.
Lastly, we are grateful to the international community for providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Angola as they traverse this long period of discomfort. We can only urge the continued provision of this and other forms of assistance to facilitate the social reintegration of ex-combatants, the resettlement of displaced persons and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Angolan national economy in order to consolidate the gains of the peace process.
I should like to inform the Council that I have just received a letter from the representative of Zambia, 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 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.
The last speaker for today’s meeting is the representative of Zambia, on whom I now call.
I, too, would like to offer my regrets for not having taking the floor at the time when I should have done so. Having said that, I would like to congratulate you, Sir, for having presided over the business of the Council so effectively during the month of June. I also wish to offer my congratulations to your predecessor for the able manner in which he steered the work of the Council last month.
My delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his lucid report on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) dated 5 June 1997. It is a record of the progress in the various aspects of the Angolan situation, embracing socio-economic, political, military and humanitarian aspects. This is as it should be as UNAVEM III is being wound down. It cannot be denied that the formation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation on 11 April 1997 has gone a long way in facilitating the progress that has been registered.
The road of the Angolan peace process has been long and difficult, and those who have helped pave the way towards the progress recorded deserve to be congratulated. These include the Secretary-General himself, whose last visit to Angola last March was such a great catalyst towards peace and progress in Angola. Congratulations also go to his indefatigable Special Representative in Angola, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, who over this long period of difficult negotiations has taken many actions that have kept the peace process on track. Special thanks go also to the three observer States — Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States — for their continuing advice to the parties to stay the course, even in the face of many difficulties during the peace process.
The progress that has been registered in Angola will remain fragile as long as UNITA continues its intransigence. In fact, my delegation is greatly disturbed by the fact that UNITA has not been fully forthcoming in honouring its side of the bargain in the peace process.
Considerable progress has been made along the road to peace. We urge UNITA to remove the obstacles that it has consistently placed on the road to peace. In this respect, UNITA should immediately provide all the information relative to the forces under its control, including that section that is attached to its leader, Jonas Savimbi. The process of demobilization and integration of military personnel into one national army is a critical part of the Lusaka Protocol and must be honoured by UNITA.
Angola has reached a critical stage at which all parties concerned must do their best to sustain the momentum towards total peace. As UNAVEM III winds down, we are gratified that plans are under way to establish a United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). It will go a long way towards assisting the Angolan parties in consolidating peace and national reconciliation. Peace in Angola will also go a long way towards expanding the parameters of peace and stability in the entire southern African region. We all, therefore, stand to gain immeasurably from Angola’s well-being as a country.
I thank the representative of Zambia for his kind words addressed to the previous and present Presidents of the Security Council.
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. 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.