The situation in Angola Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) (S/1998/17)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Cui Tiankai
|Mr. Saénz Biolley
|Sir John Weston
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Angola
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) (S/1998/17)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe 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 Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, document S/1998/17.
Members of the Council also have before them document S/1998/62, which contains the text of a draft resolution prepared in the course of the Council’s prior consultations.
I should like to draw members’ attention to document S/1998/56, which contains the text of a letter dated 21 January 1998 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council.
The first speaker on my list is the representative of Angola, on whom I now call.
First, may I, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Angola and on my own behalf, extend a very warm welcome to you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of this important body for the month of January. Through you, I would also like to congratulate your predecessor, the representative of Costa Rica, Ambassador Fernando Berrocal Soto, on his successful work during the previous month.
I also take this opportunity to salute the new members, namely, Brazil, Gabon, the Gambia, Slovenia and Bahrain. We are sure they will be able to live up to the confidence placed in them by the Member States in the difficult task of helping the international community in the search for solutions to the problems affecting international peace and security.
As we enter the fourth year of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, we can conclude that the transition from war to a long and lasting peace in Angola, despite being a difficult and complex task, is, after all, a goal that can be achieved, provided that all those involved in the peace process comply fully and in good faith with their obligations.
We also have reasons to conclude that a cohesive and firm stand by the international community is an appropriate means to oppose all attempts to reverse the path to peace and stability in Angola through the derailment of its peace process. The adoption by the Security Council of resolutions 1127 (1997) and 1135 (1997) has yielded results by having a positive impact on the peace process. The overwhelming support these resolutions have enjoyed, both from the Angolan people and the international community at large, provides hard evidence that the measures contained in them are capable of persuading UNITA to meet its obligations, thus speeding the conclusion of the remaining tasks under the Lusaka Protocol.
Today, more than ever, we are close to this goal. The Joint Commission recently approved the final timetable for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We want to believe that this time UNITA will comply fully and unconditionally, and within the new time-frame, with the responsibilities it assumed in the Joint Commission. These include, among others, UNITA’s complete demilitarization, the normalization of State administration throughout the areas UNITA still occupies, installation of UNITA leadership in the capital — Luanda — and UNITA’s transformation into a true political party.
It is undeniable the peace process has made important and substantial progress. Consequently, the risks of a return to hostilities have been significantly reduced, and a general climate of relative peace is still prevailing. The spirit of national reconciliation and tolerance is gradually being consolidated. All these achievements clearly indicate that we are on the right track.
The Angolan Government welcomes the recent positive developments in the peace process, particularly the advance in the normalization of State administration. However, this should not constitute a motive for any relaxation of the pressure exerted upon UNITA by the international community and by this Council in particular. Otherwise, we will face the risk of new delays and even setbacks. All Security Council resolutions and other decisions must continue to be enforced. Restrictive and mandatory measures, particularly those contained in the Council’s resolutions 864 (1993), 1127 (1997) and 1135 (1997) must continue to be observed by all Member States and strictly monitored by the Committee on sanctions.
In this way, incidents such as the one that occurred recently in the south of Angola will be prevented. As members might have learned from the press, last 20 January our air force intercepted in Angolan airspace, over the province of Kuando-Kubango, a DC-4 cargo aircraft belonging to a company registered in South Africa, carrying supplies to UNITA-controlled areas.
Following a preliminary investigation, it was disclosed that the plane belonged to Interstate Airways, a private company owned by Mr. Johanney Porfirio Parreira, a national of South Africa, involved long ago in trade links and transportation of supplies to UNITA-controlled areas, including its headquarters.
Besides the owner of the company, the occupants of the plane were Mr. Peter Karl Bitker, captain, a South African national; Mr. Shuku Watu, co-pilot, a national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mr. Antoine Sternberg, co-pilot, a German national; Mr. Jefferies Nille, flight engineer, a South African national; Mr. Vander Willem Hans, reserve pilot, a South African national; Mr. Steyn Johannes, civil construction worker, a South African national; Mr. Gert Allen, civil construction worker, a South African national; and finally, Mr. Swanepole Rudier, civil construction worker, a South African national.
My Government will make available, as soon as possible, to the members of this Council further details of this incident.
The perpetrators of this action, which violates the Security Council resolutions on sanctions against UNITA and is a blatant violation of Angolan sovereignty, will be brought to justice and punished in accordance with Angolan law. We want to reiterate our appeal to all Governments to continue to develop efforts to ensure full compliance with all Security Council resolutions on Angola, and to the Committee on sanctions to reinforce its action. UNITA must also be pressured to abide by those resolutions, as well as by the clauses of the Lusaka Protocol.
Notwithstanding the difficulties of the road still ahead, the Angolan Government remains optimistic regarding the successful conclusion of the peace process in the near future. The extension of the mandate of MONUA for another three months indicates that this optimism is also shared by the international community.
We should now concentrate part of our efforts on the mobilization of the necessary resources for the implementation of the final actions of the Lusaka Protocol. In this respect, we take particular note of the appeal made by the Secretary-General in paragraph 40 of his report regarding the need to increase financial and in-kind contributions to the activities associated with the Lusaka Protocol.
I must recall that very recently my Government made available, through the Instituto da Reintegracão Social dos ex-Militares (IRSEM), in the province of Huambo, 402.24 billion readjusted Kwanzas for the demobilization of more than 1,400 members of the UNITA military, as well as the payment of special subsidies.
Other efforts have been made in other provinces where the demobilization process is under way: food rations have been delivered to the demobilized residents in Bailundo, Lumduimbali, Alto-Hama, Cahala, Cuima and so forth. In perspective, given the successful experience with these actions, IRSEM will dedicate special attention this year to the preparation and realization of agricultural and pastoral projects in the localities with a greater concentration of demobilized military personnel and will continue as well with the registry of the demobilized communities and their families. Another important initiative of social impact that is worth noting here, is the professional reintegration of demobilized personnel into the health and educational sectors.
As the Council is aware, as a result of decades of armed conflict, Angola faces a serious social and humanitarian crisis which requires the continued assistance of the international community. The implementation of the community rehabilitation programme approved at the Brussels International Conference of Donors for Angola is conducive to economic and social recovery, laying the ground for the development of the country. To this end, the Government would like to renew its appeal to the countries and institutions which pledged to contribute to this programme to honour their commitments.
I would like to express once again the gratitude of the Angolan people and Government to all Governments, non-governmental and international organizations for the humanitarian aid provided to the populations and regions most affected by the war.
In concluding, I wish to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, and the countries of the troika of observers for their tireless efforts in pursuit of peace in Angola. We wish also to thank the countries that did not hesitate to provide troops for the United Nations peace mission in my country.
With these few remarks on the part of my Government, the draft resolution to be adopted today has our support. We hope it will contribute to the rapid conclusion of the peace process.
I thank the representative of Angola for his kinds words addressed to me.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Mozambique, on whom I now call.
My delegation would like to convey to you, Sir, sincere congratulations on your deserved assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of January.
We would also like to extend our congratulations to your predecessor on the excellent manner in which he guided the work of the Security Council during the month of December.
As I take the floor in this body for the first time this year, I would like to welcome the new members of the Council and assure them of my delegation’s readiness to cooperate with them in the next two years. Let me also seize this opportunity to congratulate the outgoing members on their excellent contribution to the work of the Security Council during their mandate.
The report of the Secretary-General and the statement just made by the Permanent Representative of Angola give us reason for cautious optimism with regard to the peace process in that sister country.
The approval by the Joint Commission of a timetable committing the Government of Angola and UNITA to completion of the remaining tasks in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol may represent a turning point on the way to the conclusion of the process under the “Acordos de Paz”.
It is encouraging to note that the will of the Angolan people, the peoples of region and the international community is prevailing and that UNITA is now persuaded to join in the efforts aimed at bringing about peace and stability in Angola.
We should also recognize the fact that the progress in the Angolan peace process is to a large extent due to the decisive and constructive role played by this body in bringing the process onto the right track. The Security Council has not only remained seized of the situation in Angola but has taken decisive steps to prevent the derailment of the process.
We are equally encouraged by the information contained in the Secretary-General’s report, according to which tensions have decreased between the parties throughout the country, registration and disarmament of residual military personnel has been formally concluded and demobilization is in progress.
However, our optimism is cautious, because the experience of the recent past has not been very reassuring, and we are concerned over the information that UNITA is still regrouping some of its military personnel. We do not understand the motive behind such actions, which may undermine the confidence being built between the parties.
We would also like to see an accelerated normalization of State administration in UNITA-controlled areas and the completion of the transformation of Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility. In this regard, we urge the Government of Angola, and in particular UNITA, to complete, in accordance with the new calendar they have agreed upon, the implementation of the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol by the end of February 1998.
The challenges ahead are mammoth but not insurmountable. The international community should continue to persevere in its efforts to provide the necessary support to the peace process. Some of the challenges facing the Angolan people today will go beyond the conclusion of the peace process as such. These include reconciliation, which entails not just reconciliation among leaders of the parties but also, and perhaps most importantly, reconciling families, communities and the entire people of Angola. The reintegration of the demobilized soldiers is of paramount importance in order to make sure that returning to war is not an alternative for their livelihood. Demining is a concern of equal importance, for it will allow for the resettlement of people in their areas, and allow them to produce.
The Angolan people are anxious to devote their energy and efforts to these challenges of national reconciliation, reconstruction, democracy and economic development. The country is endowed with rich natural resources which will allow the Angolan people to develop and prosper. We trust, therefore, that the international community will continue to lend its indispensable assistance.
It is within this context that my delegation supports the recommendation contained in the report of the Secretary-General proposing the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, thus enhancing confidence-building and helping to create an environment conducive to long-term stability, democracy, reconstruction and development.
In conclusion, we wish to renew our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his continued commitment to the Angolan peace process, and to his Special Representative for his positive contribution. Our appreciation is also extended to the members of the troika for their positive role in the Angolan peace process.
I thank the representative of Mozambique for his kind words addressed to the members of the Council.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia — and the associated country Cyprus, as well as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries members of the European Economic Area, Iceland and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union welcomes the agreement by both parties on a timetable which foresees the completion of the outstanding provisions of the Lusaka Protocol by the end of February. We urge both the Government of Angola and UNITA to complete their tasks according to the agreed timetable.
We welcome the conclusion of the registration and disarmament of residual UNITA military personnel. UNITA must now declare itself completely demilitarized. This will open the way for its formal transition to a political party and allow it to participate fully and constructively in the democratic process and in the future development of Angola.
We note the progress made in extending State administration. We call upon UNITA to cooperate fully and to avoid further delays. In particular, we urge the early extension of State administration to Bailundo and Andulo as a demonstration of UNITA’s commitment to national reconciliation.
We look forward to the completion of Radio Vorgan’s transformation to “Rádio Despertar”. Non-partisan stations can play a positive role in increasing the flow of information throughout the country and in building confidence, as my colleague the Permanent Representative of Mozambique has just indicated.
The European Union places the utmost importance on respect for human rights. We are concerned that human rights observers are present in only 7 of Angola’s 18 provinces. We support the Secretary-General’s intention to increase the number of observers to the mandated strength, and international efforts to increase respect for human rights and improve the free movement of people and goods in Angola. We underline the importance of the work of United Nations civilian police in promoting respect for human rights and in building a climate of trust in Angola.
The European Union has invested heavily in the Angolan peace process and will continue to do so. We are the largest contributor to Angola’s rehabilitation and a leading provider of humanitarian assistance. We provide critical assistance for the health sector, for agriculture and for rural development. And we will continue to assist the Angolan authorities to remove the scourge of mines in their country. But Angola’s recovery depends not only on continued international assistance, but also on the willingness of both parties to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion.
The European Union is encouraged by reports that a meeting between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi is being prepared. This should take place in Angola as soon as possible. International and grass-roots efforts to promote national reconciliation can succeed only if there is a firm and unequivocal commitment at the highest political level.
The European Union recognizes the difficulties which still lie ahead. We believe that the United Nations has a valuable role to play in overcoming those difficulties and in fostering an atmosphere of stability and national reconciliation. We welcome the decision to extend for a further three months the presence in Angola of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). We pay tribute to the men and women of MONUA and to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye, who are doing a difficult job in trying and often dangerous circumstances. We welcome and appreciate the efforts of the three observer States: Portugal, the United States and the Russian Federation.
After so many years of conflict, Angola is now closer than at any other time since independence to establishing a lasting peace. We admire the strength and courage shown by the Angolan people in times of great difficulty. It is essential now to ensure that the last remaining hurdles are successfully overcome so that Angolans now and in the future can experience the peace and stability they so clearly deserve.
The next speaker is the representative of Zimbabwe. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
While Zimbabwe is encouraged that peace in Angola remains within sight and within reach, and that the Government and UNITA continue to express their willingness to fulfil their remaining obligations, we are seriously concerned at the persistent delays in the actual and full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We agree entirely with the Secretary-General that there is an urgent need, particularly on the part of UNITA, to display a greater sense of urgency in implementing the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
In this regard, we welcome as a new ray of hope the 10-point agreement reached on 9 January 1998 on the new implementation timetable, which envisages that major progress should be achieved by the end of February 1998, when the UNITA leadership is expected to install itself in Luanda and to transfer its two strongholds to the control of State administration. In our view, the new implementation timetable addresses the remaining aspects of the peace process, which are: full normalization of State administration throughout the country, including the areas of Andulo and Bailundo; demobilization of UNITA troops; and the transformation of the UNITA radio into a non-partisan facility.
We wish quickly to point out, however, that whereas the latest agreement reaffirms the commitment of the Government and of UNITA to the peace process, its implementation without further prevarication or procrastination would actually give the people of Angola an unprecedented opportunity to stand, firmly and irrevocably, on the very threshold of peace in their country. We therefore appeal to the Government of Angola and to UNITA, in the interest of peace and progress in their own country, to adhere to and make good on their commitments — commitments that they voluntarily entered into. We also welcome and encourage the ongoing contacts to facilitate the meeting, inside Angola, of President Dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi.
Zimbabwe has contributed some of its very scarce resources in support of the peace process in Angola. Although we will soon be withdrawing the battalion which is now stationed in Angola, Zimbabwean military observers will stay on and remain available to the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). We are deeply convinced that the continued presence of the United Nations in Angola is much needed in order to facilitate the full implementation of the remaining provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and to enhance the peace process. We therefore fully support the recommendation of the Secretary-General that the mandate of MONUA be extended for three months, until 30 April 1998, as outlined in his report. I happen to know also that this extension accords fully with the wishes of the Organization of African Unity.
The next speaker is the representative of Namibia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
The conflict in Angola is a complex one, and it requires diligence and tact, among other things. In this context, my delegation hails the commitment of Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye in representing the Secretary-General in this delicate task.
Peace and stability can come to Angola only if and when the two parties to the conflict equally demonstrate the necessary political will to see beyond their differences and to work towards a common goal: peace. The international community can only complement the efforts of the two parties, as it has been doing over the years. It is in this context therefore that the Government of Namibia welcomes the positive developments in the sisterly country of Angola. While we recognize the obstacles encountered in the normalization process — which are noted also in the Secretary-General’s report — we continue to encourage the Government of the Republic of Angola and UNITA to continue to seek a peaceful resolution to the problem. The recent contacts between the two parties are thus a source of high hopes.
The transformation of Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility will, we hope, be completed despite the remaining hurdles.
We note the positive aspects mentioned in the report on the military front, as well as police aspects. However, as a country that has emerged from conflict, we are particularly concerned about the recently laid mines, as these will magnify the magnitude of future development efforts by the Angolan people. We therefore urge the international community to continue to support the emergency and humanitarian assistance programmes for Angola, for these are prerequisites for the consolidation of peace, stability and development in Angola.
No doubt, the demobilization and reintegration challenges will be overcome in the immediate future. However, we welcome the steps being taken, especially the services of the Social and Counselling Programme — and perhaps equally or more important, vocational training for the soldiers. Our experience shows that the sooner reintegration is addressed, the better development plans can be pursued.
In spite of some positive developments, it is the view of my delegation that the measures currently imposed by the Security Council on UNITA should be maintained in order to ensure UNITA’s full compliance with the commitments it made under the Lusaka Protocol.
The people of Angola will value and measure peace and stability only when their socio-economic conditions improve. Thus, the Government’s economic stabilization and economic recovery programme warrants technical, financial and other assistance. Indeed, the significant presence of the United Nations in Angola remains valid today and is now more critical than ever. While progress has been made, the United Nations task there has not yet been completed. We therefore support the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), as proposed by the Secretary-General. It is our sincere hope that, during this extension, the remaining issues will be resolved.
Finally, Namibia reiterates its readiness to continue to contribute to the peace process in Angola until peace is achieved.
The next speaker is the representative of Cape Verde. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I thank you, Sir, for the opportunity offered to my delegation to speak briefly at this meeting, convened by the Security Council to consider the situation in Angola and to take decisions as the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) comes to an end.
The Secretary-General’s report of 12 January, which is as clear and detailed as always, stresses the important progress made in the peace process since early December 1997. Since then, bilateral exchanges have been maintained at a steady pace, leading to the adoption by the Joint Commission of a timetable for fulfilling the agreements of the Lusaka Protocol. Moreover, the President of Angola and the leader of UNITA have exchanged messages and been in personal contact regarding both the timetable under discussion and arrangements for their meeting, which has long been planned and is now on the calendar.
The commitment of the leadership of UNITA finally to install itself in the country’s capital by late February and the reaffirmation of the same schedule for the transfer of Andulo and Bailundo to State administration are two other particularly encouraging signs. A new phase, it would seem, will thereby have begun in demonstrating high-level political will, which is certainly of great significance.
This cannot, however, automatically resolve all the pending problems. The extension of State administration to the entire territory is being considerably delayed and the normalization of life for the people of that territory remains inadequate and precarious. In this regard, the movements in the field of the Joint Commission itself, and above all the establishment of joint Operational Groups in the provinces, are extremely useful measures and machinery for strengthening and maintaining confidence and stabilizing relations.
The atmosphere will also be more relaxed with the transformation of UNITA’s Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility and we hope that the current administrative and material difficulties will be speedily overcome.
We wish to underline the importance which the parties themselves attach to the fullest possible enjoyment of human rights by the population, as acknowledged by the Joint Commission. This is a factor for the consolidation of peace and justifies the measures to extend the network of observers deployed in the country.
A particularly essential aspect of the peace process has always been the demobilization and social integration of UNITA fighters. Everything possible must be done to speed up and expand that movement, and we understand that the means to achieve this are very shortly to be brought under consideration.
We acknowledge that we were struck by the magnitude of all that remains to be done in the area of demining. To date, 10,000 mines out of an estimated total of 6 to 8 million have been cleared from Angolan soil. This is an enormous task, yet it is absolutely vital to the revival of the rural economy and life in general. Every support is needed and the international community is called upon to increase its assistance in resources and training in this area, as well as to respond to the appeal now being prepared for emergency rescue and humanitarian assistance programmes for displaced persons.
We welcome the forthcoming adoption this afternoon by the Council of a draft resolution which, among other things, extends to 30 April 1998 the mandate of MONUA, thus continuing to allow the peace process in Angola to benefit by the help of the Mission’s remarkable work.
We remain confident that, despite the remaining problems, which we should not underestimate, the mid-term report of the Secretary-General scheduled for 13 March will confirm that progress has remained consistent. The Angolan people deserve and expect this.
We warmly congratulate and thank the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for their successful and dynamic work, and the three observer States for their unflagging and devoted efforts.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to 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.
My delegation is pleased to participate in this debate on the situation in Angola. The armed conflict that has afflicted the people of Angola for almost four decades has been a cause of great and ongoing concern to the international community. Finally, thanks to the collaboration and participation of all parties, a solution is emerging in the context of the Lusaka Protocol. Unfortunately, in recent months, the peace process has been jeopardized by a certain reticence on the part of one party to comply with agreements made. That is why my delegation warmly welcomes the outcome of the meeting of the Joint Commission and, in particular, the adoption of the timetable for completing the tasks of the Lusaka Protocol, which will reactivate the peace process in what we hope will be a definitive fashion.
Compliance with the main phases agreed on in the timetable — the demilitarization of UNITA forces, the normalization of State administration throughout Angolan national territory, and the transformation of Radio Vorgan into an impartial and non-partisan broadcasting facility — is essential and fundamental to the consolidation of peace in Angola. In this context, Costa Rica attaches the greatest importance to the forthcoming meeting between President Dos Santos and the UNITA leader, Mr. Savimbi, even if it should take place outside the agreed timetable. We feel that the convening of this meeting in the near future, hopefully within the timetable, is indispensable to the success of the peace plan.
The recent report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) contains certain points on which Costa Rica believes it necessary to comment. First of all, my delegation cannot conceal its concern at the continuation of armed clashes between local governmental authorities and UNITA militants, and at the regrouping of military elements of UNITA, particularly in the regions of Andulo and Bailundo. Secondly, my country is particularly concerned at the increase in the number of reports of human rights violations. In that connection, we are concerned at the lack of resources and personnel for the protection and promotion of such rights. We note that, unfortunately, United Nations human rights observers are currently present in only 7 of Angola’s 18 provinces. We hope that this situation will be resolved in the manner proposed by the Secretary-General.
For all these reasons, my delegation believes it necessary to extend MONUA’s mandate, including its military task force so as to respond to security needs, as well as the provisions contained in the Secretary-General’s report, until 30 April.
We look forward to the report to be submitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council in March so as to be able to consider the role that MONUA would be able to play in the future, in keeping with advances made in compliance with the established timetable.
Lastly, Costa Rica would appeal to the parties to continue to observe fully the agreements of the Lusaka Protocol, and in particular we would appeal to UNITA to begin its move to Luanda so as to transform itself into a political party.
First of all, I should like to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for January. Under your wise and firm guidance, the work of the Council has been conducted with great effectiveness. I should also like to pay tribute to your predecessor, Ambassador Fernando Berrocal Soto, for the manner in which he led the Council last December.
Angola has been ravaged by one of the longest wars in the history of Africa. After 37 years of conflict, for the first time a stable peace and national reconciliation seem about to be realized. The United Nations, the international community and several countries, including Brazil, have invested a great deal of energy and resources in the peace process in Angola. At this critical time, the major political consideration must be to ensure that MONUA can have available a monitoring capability that will allow it successfully to conclude the tasks entrusted to it. Here I should like to emphasize the role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Blondin Beye, and of the troika of observer States.
At the beginning of January, the Government and UNITA agreed on a timetable in accordance with which the tasks provided for under the Lusaka Protocol would be concluded by the end of February. Additional efforts will have to be made to cover several key stages: the normalization of State administration throughout the country, including the regions of Andulo and Bailundo; the effective demobilization of the remaining forces of UNITA; a declaration by UNITA that it no longer has weapons or armed personnel; the establishment of the UNITA leadership in Luanda; and the transformation of UNITA’s radio station into an impartial broadcasting facility. In a short period of time, UNITA thus will be able to function exclusively as a political party. We are convinced that in that new framework, UNITA will be able effectively to contribute to national reconciliation and to the consolidation of democracy in Angola.
The draft resolution that we are considering today recommends the extension of MONUA’s mandate for three months. It also requests that the Secretary-General submit in 45 days a report that would allow the Council to reconfigure MONUA before the end of its mandate, should that prove necessary. That clause sends a clear signal that the Council will be ready to act immediately if the approved timetable is not complied with.
We have carefully considered the proposal contained in paragraphs 35 and 36 of the Secretary-General’s report concerning the reduction of the military component of MONUA. Brazil decided to support the proposal after having been assured that the existing structure could complete the tasks entrusted to it, including the verification of the demobilization of UNITA troops.
The approval of the timetable, the reduction of tensions between the Government and UNITA, and the prospect of the forthcoming meeting between President José Eduardo dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi have raised hopes. However, reports on the continuation of non-authorized flights in the UNITA-controlled regions and on remining activities show us that additional efforts are required to ensure the consolidation of peace.
The draft resolution before us establishes that the Secretary-General will have to submit in his report planned for mid-March specific information on the issue of sanctions. We emphasize that this section of the report should not be limited to a routine recounting of the actions of Governments. Indeed, we would hope that it would present a general assessment of the situation.
If our hopes are fulfilled, Angola will very soon be able to devote its energies to reconstruction and development. Discharging the obligations provided for in the Lusaka Protocol will open up a new stage that will require continued participation by the international community, perhaps in a renewed framework, so that the peace and prosperity of the Angolan people can be ensured. Brazil remains ready to contribute to this effort.
I thank the representative of Brazil for the kind words he addressed to the members of the Council.
The question of Angola has become the last hot spot in southern Africa. China sincerely hopes that in the context of the general trend of seeking peace, stability and development on the African continent, the question of Angola will also be promptly resolved so that the Angolan people could enjoy peace and prosperity at an early date.
We were pleased and relieved at the signing of the Lusaka Protocol more than three years ago, and we were encouraged by the establishment nearly a year ago of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation of Angola. However, in the latter half of the past year, the peace process in Angola has begun to stagnate and has even come to a halt. Certain measures stipulated in the Lusaka Protocol have never been effectively implemented.
This is a matter of deep concern for us. The Chinese delegation wishes to reiterate that the peace and well-being of Angola ultimately depend on the Angolan people themselves. The genuine and lasting settlement of the question of Angola requires the political will of and practical action by the parties concerned. We appeal to the parties in Angola to conform to the general trend and to the will of the people and, with the fundamental interests of the Angolan people in mind, seriously to fulfil their agreed obligations, especially with respect to completing their tasks in areas such as demilitarization and the normalization of State administration, so as to push Angola towards the final realization of peace and reconciliation.
In this connection, we are pleased to note that the Joint Commission approved on 9 January the latest timetable for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We were also pleased to learn that President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will hold a meeting soon. We sincerely hope that all this will take place as scheduled.
In accordance with resolution 1118 (1997), the tasks of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) should be completed by the end of this month. In view of the fact that the peace process in Angola is at a crucial juncture at present and still needs the firm support of the United Nations, including the Security Council, and considering that the parties concerned in Angola are also requesting the United Nations to continue to play a positive role in promoting the peace process in Angola, the Chinese delegation is in favour of extending MONUA’s mandate and will vote in favour of the draft resolution before us.
In the meantime, I wish to point out that when the Council adopted resolution 1118 (1997), the Chinese delegation expressed reservations with regard to certain functions of MONUA. This position of ours remains unchanged.
We sincerely hope that the parties concerned in Angola can seize the favourable opportunity offered by the extension of MONUA’s mandate and intensify their efforts so that genuine and lasting national reconciliation and peace can be realized in Angola and Angola can start reconstruction and development soon.
The recent agreement between the Government of Angola and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) on a timetable for the finalization of the peace process is a most welcome sign of progress. The agreement raises the hope that the parties now are ready to complete the remaining tasks in the Lusaka Protocol. The reports that President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi are planning to meet in Angola soon are also encouraging.
There are still difficulties on the way ahead, however. The responsibility for achieving sustainable peace in Angola primarily remains with the Angolan parties themselves. That being said, we continue to see an important role for the United Nations in assisting in the completion of the peace process.
Sweden supports an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) for another three months. The continued presence of the mission will contribute to paving the way for a more secure and stable political environment in Angola. We support the retention of a military task force in Angola, as proposed by the Secretary-General, which will be able to assist in the fulfilment of remaining military tasks within the peace process and be able to respond to security needs on the ground.
Since MONUA was established in June 1997, the civilian aspects of the peace process have gained in importance. We hope that the peace process is now irreversibly moving into a peace-building phase. In order to achieve the remaining goals, there is need for a strong civilian police presence in Angola — strong in numbers and in ability. MONUA’s civilian police perform essential tasks in the human rights field, including their efforts to strengthen the rule of law and measures to support and assist the Angolan National Police. In this connection, we also welcome the ongoing efforts to strengthen MONUA’s human rights component.
We look forward to the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report in mid-March, including his recommendations on the possible reconfiguration of MONUA and his views on the United Nations presence in Angola after 30 April 1998.
In his report of 12 January on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), the Secretary-General states that although some progress has been made toward concluding the peace process in Angola, the persistent delays in implementing the Lusaka Protocol continue to give us cause for deep concern. Japan shares this assessment. As a member of the Security Council, and as a country that has been contributing to the peace process, particularly in the areas of demobilization and demining, Japan considers these delays profoundly regrettable.
Against this background, my delegation finds it encouraging that a timetable for implementing the Lusaka Protocol was agreed to and approved by the Joint Commission on 9 January. As stressed in the draft resolution on which we are about to vote, it is essential for the Government of Angola and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) — urgently and in accordance with this timetable — to complete the implementation of all their obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and to fulfil all remaining obligations under the “Acordos de Paz” as well as relevant Security Council resolutions. It is important that UNITA in particular bear in mind the Council’s readiness to review the sanctions imposed by its resolution 1127 (1997) of 28 August 1997 or to consider additional sanctions, depending on UNITA’s implementation of its obligations according to this timetable. In this connection, my delegation notes with grave concern that aircraft are landing in territory controlled by UNITA in violation of the sanctions imposed by resolution 1127 (1997). We call upon all Member States, and particularly Angola’s neighbours, to abide strictly by these sanctions.
In view of the commitment of both of the Angolan parties to adhere to the timetable, Japan agrees that it is appropriate to extend the mandate of MONUA, including its military task force, for an additional three months, until 30 April, as recommended by the Secretary-General. I wish to emphasize that it is essential for the successful completion of the tasks of MONUA that the Government of Angola and, particularly, UNITA cooperate fully with MONUA.
In this context, I should like once again to reiterate the strong hope of my delegation that President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will in the near future meet with each other directly, at a venue within Angola, with a view to further promoting peace and national reconciliation. For all these reasons, my delegation is going to vote in favour of the draft resolution before us.
At this juncture, my delegation wishes to express its grave concern about the fact that, despite the repeated calls of the Security Council for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Republic of the Congo, Angolan Government troops have not yet been withdrawn from their intervention in the Republic of the Congo. This situation is unacceptable. The immediate withdrawal of Angolan troops from that country is called for.
I should like to close my brief statement by paying tribute to the Secretary-General and to his Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, and all the personnel of MONUA, as well as to the three observer States for their ongoing and tireless efforts in the pursuit of peace and stability in Angola.
The Russian Federation, which is a member of the troika of observer States for the Angola settlement and which contributes troops to the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), is keenly interested in the successful advancement of the peace process and in the speedy restoration of lasting peace and national reconciliation in Angola. The achievement of that objective is of great importance both for Angola itself and for the consolidation of stability throughout the region.
We note with satisfaction that recently there have been encouraging signs regarding the Angolan settlement. The most important of these was the approval at the 9 January meeting of the Joint Commission of a new timetable for implementation of the remaining key provisions of the Lusaka Protocol. The implementation of the obligations entered into therein — in particular, the complete transfer of all regions controlled by the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) to the Government of Angola, the completion of the demilitarization of UNITA and the legalization of that organization as a political party, and the transformation of UNITA’s radio station, Vorgan, into a neutral broadcasting corporation — would give the peace process an irreversible quality and take it to the final stage.
The month to come will be decisive for the peace process as a whole. We expect that the Government of Angola, and especially UNITA, will take a constructive approach and will implement accurately and on time, by 28 February, all the provisions of the settlement timetable. We also place considerable hopes on the meeting on the territory of Angola between President Dos Santos and the leader of UNITA, Mr. Savimbi, planned for the second half of February.
In our view, the draft resolution to be adopted today by the Security Council correctly reflects the specific nature of this complex but, we hope, final stage of the Angolan settlement. The draft resolution clearly points the Government of Angola and UNITA towards the conclusion of the implementation of their obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and provides broad opportunities for effective verification of the course of the peace process and for adjustments in the actions of the Security Council, depending on the course of events.
It is precisely in this context, and in particular following the results of the implementation of the settlement timetable, that the Security Council intends by mid-March to determine its position regarding the question of the lifting or intensifying sanctions on UNITA, and also regarding the further presence of the United Nations in Angola. We believe that this rational approach will effectively promote the further advancement of the peace process and provide adequate protection for the large investment in peace and in an Angolan settlement made over many years by the international community.
On the basis of the foregoing, the Russian delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution.
We would like to begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his detailed report on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) and also would like to express our appreciation to his Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye, for his untiring work and important accomplishments.
The situation in Angola has been a matter of international concern for a long time. Although the conflict has been raging for decades, the two-year resumption of internecine hostilities after the November 1992 elections alone consumed an estimated 150,000 civilian lives. Slovenia is therefore heartened that the peace process in Angola has clearly shown progress, as stated in paragraph 24 of the Secretary-General’s recent report.
We are especially encouraged by the agreement of 9 January 1998 on the new implementation timetable that was reached by both parties. We thus look forward to the fulfilment of the obligations stemming from the timetable, in particular the promises made by UNITA concerning the relocation of its headquarters to the Angolan capital by the end of February. We expect that the accompanying relinquishment of control over its strongholds in Andulo and Bailundo will finally conclude the otherwise slow process of consolidation of State administration throughout Angola.
We also attach the highest importance to the legalization of UNITA as a political party. We hope that the necessary conditions will soon be met in accordance with the timetable.
Slovenia recognizes that the progress made in the peace process thus far is in large part the result of persistent efforts of Secretary-General’s Special Representative to maintain an active dialogue between the Angolan authorities and UNITA. We hope that this process will continue and that President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will meet in person as soon as possible.
While the progress towards peace in Angola is no doubt encouraging, there are unfortunately obstacles which still impede the implementation of some important aspects of the Lusaka Protocol.
Slovenia is particularly disquieted by the allegations that UNITA continues to regroup its military elements in some parts of the country. In this connection, we are also concerned by the reported desertion from the quartering areas of approximately 25,000 former troops. Incomplete demobilization was, after all, one of the main reasons for the previous breakdowns of the peace process in Angola. Hence our concern. It is therefore imperative that the deserters take advantage of the opportunity to be demobilized under different arrangements by June 1998.
We also note with regret the verification by MONUA of the attacks on UNITA supporters by local government forces. Such incidents complicate the process of administrative normalization and undermine the modicum of mutual trust between the two parties. They may also fuel ethnic anxieties at the grass-roots level in a country where ethnicity has become an increasingly significant political factor.
All this points to the importance of properly functioning State institutions and mechanisms for the protection of human rights in Angola. Slovenia therefore supports the recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the expansion of the number of human rights observers and the increase in the overall strength of the civilian police component of MONUA.
We also support the resumption of the training programme for the Angolan National Police. A properly trained local police force represents an important safeguard against the violation of civil and political rights in this sensitive period of transition. Training of the local police in the universally accepted standards of police conduct and support by the United Nations Civilian Police (UNCIVPOL) are thus among the important ingredients of post-conflict peace-building.
Slovenia believes that the current momentum must be seized and carried to completion. We therefore support the Secretary-General’s recommendations to extend the mandate of MONUA for three months, until 30 April 1998. We also support the proposed request that the Secretary-General submit a comprehensive report on the situation in Angola by 13 March 1998. We are glad that all these elements and many other important thoughts are incorporated in the draft resolution now under consideration, and Slovenia will vote in favour of it.
Let me, in conclusion, say the following. The conflict in Angola has been long and bitter. After many years stability is finally within reach. We support the efforts of the Angolan people to create a durable and lasting peace. Persons belonging to the Ovimbundu, Bakongo and Mbundu peoples, as well as others, have suffered tremendously. It is therefore important to ensure that the last obstacles to the peace are removed.
Portugal has been following recent developments in Angola with a sense of cautious optimism that was confirmed by the statement of the Permanent Representative of Angola. The new timetable for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, approved by the Joint Commission on 9 January, should be a meaningful step towards the normalization of the political and military situation in Angola.
However, it could be said that we should avoid holding overly high expectations, not only because of the difficult nature of the tasks which remain incomplete, but also because of the relatively short time in which they must be fulfilled. After all, we have to bear in mind that the Angolan peace process has proceeded far more slowly than had been expected three years ago, when the Lusaka Protocol was signed. That is the reality. But the new timetable is nevertheless our best shot at trying to reinvigorate the peace process. Without the speedy completion of the remaining tasks, peace in Angola will not become a reality.
The recipe for political stability in Angola is well known. On the part of UNITA, it is imperative that it facilitate the normalization of State administration in the areas it controls, including its headquarters in Andulo and Bailundo. UNITA must also transform Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility, thus dismantling the remains of its propaganda-war machine. And last but not least, UNITA must demilitarize fully. Nothing short of this is acceptable. Portugal is therefore concerned by reports that UNITA continues to regroup its military elements in some areas of Angola. This type of behaviour is incompatible with its necessary transformation into a political party.
On the part of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, there is a responsibility to ensure that the rule of law reigns throughout Angola and that the fundamental principles of democratic societies, including human rights, are fully respected. This is vitally important in the long run, and is also essential to establish right away the climate of confidence and trust in Government that is required to overcome the culture of violence that so many years of war have left behind in Angola.
In this context, the long-awaited meeting in Angola between President José Eduardo dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi could be seen as a catalyst for the successful conclusion of the peace process. The Portuguese Government fully shares the view of the Secretary-General, as stated in his latest report on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), that this meeting could enhance mutual confidence and contribute significantly to the prospects for national reconciliation, reconstruction of the country and movement towards democracy.
The victory of peace over war in Angola still depends, to a large extent, on the support of the international community. It is disappointing to know that the response to the 1997 consolidated inter-agency appeal for Angola generated only 44 per cent of the funds required. The same could be said about the fact that only 7 out of the 18 Angolan demining brigades are now operational, due to shortages of both equipment and funds from national and international sources. Similarly, demobilization has also been negatively affected by the lack of international support.
Portugal believes that additional international assistance is required in order to enable the Angolan Government and UNITA to walk this last mile for peace. In this context, we would like to draw attention to paragraph 10 of the draft resolution, which urges the international community to provide assistance for demobilization and the social reintegration of ex-combatants, demining, the resettlement of displaced persons and the rehabilitation of the Angolan economy. Full cooperation with the 1998 consolidated inter-agency appeal for Angola, currently being finalized, would be equally important. Extending the mandate of MONUA along the lines proposed by the Secretary-General is a step in the right direction. The comprehensive report requested by the Security Council in paragraph 3 of the draft resolution will be instrumental in this context, by assessing the implementation of the timetable agreed upon by the Government of Angola and UNITA and approved by the Joint Commission.
The proposed continuation of the United Nations presence in Angola after April 30 fully deserves our agreement, and we look forward to studying carefully the preliminary recommendations in this regard that the Secretary-General will in time submit to the Security Council. Let me also seize this opportunity to pay tribute to the work that has been done, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, by the United Nations personnel, as well as to the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Alioune Beye.
The presence in MONUA of 352 Portuguese — the largest contingent after that of Zimbabwe — is a practical expression of the confidence Portugal has in a successful outcome of the peace process in Angola. We are ready to be patient in assisting the people of Angola to cross the bridge to stability, democracy and economic development. But we also have to point out that the Angolan Government, and UNITA in particular, must present us, in the next few weeks, with renewed proof of their true commitment to respect their mutual obligations. Full compliance with the new timetable would show us that commitment to peace.
My delegation welcomes the present report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Angola, which paints a relatively hopeful picture of the progress towards lasting peace and stability in that country. The ongoing contacts between President dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi are encouraging.
We also welcome the recent agreement, reached earlier this month by the parties at the meeting of the Joint Commission, on a new timetable of tasks to be implemented. These are steps in the right direction. We commend the parties for these bold undertakings. Normalization of State administration in over 100 localities remains to be done. The transformation of Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan “Rádio Despertar” has to be completed, along with the complete transformation of UNITA into a political party. UNITA leadership is yet to be installed in Luanda, and a host of other important tasks remain to be completed. These tasks are a long way from fulfilment, but we can already see some light at the end of the tunnel if continued pressure on the parties is maintained.
I wish to take this opportunity to call on the parties to remain steadfastly committed to fulfilling their obligations. We believe that genuine political will is an important element in the peace process and should be carefully cultivated.
We concur with the Secretary-General in his observation that these tasks remain as vital to the peace process as they have ever been, and we agree that the presence of the United Nations in Angola is greatly needed to continue to help the parties undertake their full implementation.
The United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) continues to play a key role in the progress towards the full implementation of the parties’ undertakings. It remains the only focal point in consolidating the efforts of the international community as we seek to assist the parties on this very difficult path towards reconciliation.
It is in this regard that my delegation is in favour of the draft resolution before us, and we will vote in its favour in order to extend the mandate of MONUA for another three months, until 30 April 1998. Furthermore, the present draft resolution contains an important element which in our view seeks to encourage the parties to remain especially committed to the implementation of the remaining tasks without further delay. It is our hope that when we next meet to discuss the situation in Angola, in March, the parties will have taken full advantage of the presence of MONUA to complete the obligation they have agreed upon in the new timetable.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all those actively involved in the peace process in Angola, especially the troika of observer States, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye, and the men and women who are serving in the United Nations mission in Angola. Without their tireless efforts the peace process would be in jeopardy, and I take this opportunity to encourage them all to continue.
As I am speaking for the first time in this Council Chamber, I would like to congratulate you, Sir, for the excellent manner in which you have carried out your mandate as President of the Security Council for the month of January. I extend similar sentiments to your predecessor, Ambassador Fernando Berrocal Soto of Costa Rica. I also wish to pay tribute to the outgoing non-permanent members of the Security Council for their excellent contribution during their term. I think that my delegation has cooperated with you, Mr. President, and we will continue to do so with your successors.
My delegation is pleased to participate in this debate. Allow me to extend my delegation’s felicitations to the Secretary-General for his detailed and vivid report on the situation in Angola. We wish to pay a special tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Angola, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, to his staff, to the dedicated men and women of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), and to the troika countries — Portugal, the United States of America and the Russian Federation — for the impressive work they are doing towards the achievement of the objectives of the Lusaka Protocol. We applaud the troop-contributing countries for their valuable contributions to MONUA, without which the progress made so far in the implementation of the Angolan peace process would not have been possible.
Slow but steady progress has been realized in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. However, a lot still remains to be done in the resurrection of the unity and national integrity of Angola. The attainment of this goal requires the full cooperation and commitment of the Angolan leaders themselves. They must continue to take the necessary steps, as democratic pillars, to achieve a vibrant economy and fully functioning State institutions that command the support and confidence of the people of Angola.
If such is the ardent wish of the international community for Angola — and indeed it is — the Angolan leaders must embrace honestly all the efforts being made in that direction. My delegation is dismayed by the recent discovery of re-mining activities by UNITA personnel and the reported increase in the movement of unregistered UNITA troops which have caused ravages in some provinces. This one-step-forward and two-steps-backward attitude is far from helpful in moving the Angolan peace process forward.
In this regard, we hail the move made in Harare by the six Ministers of Defence and Security of the States members of the South African Development Community (SADC) in issuing a communiqué warning UNITA supporters of the negative consequences of their continued support of the movement. This prompts me to re-echo my delegation’s firm support for positive interventions in conflict situations by regional organizations.
In welcoming the timetable approved by the Joint Commission, according to which the two parties to the Angolan conflict have agreed to accomplish the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol by the end of February 1998, my delegation is of the view that both the Government and UNITA must be urged to fulfil their obligations and to give their honest and resolute support in that direction.
It is one thing to successfully accomplish the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, but it is another to consolidate and sustain the gains realized. These are major tasks that, in my view, require the continued presence and involvement of MONUA. Thus, my delegation supports the extension of the mandate of MONUA not only to the end of April 1998 but, if necessary to consolidate the peace process, also beyond 1998.
In the context of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, MONUA has the essential function of reassuring the civilian population and paving the way towards national reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. Thus, strengthening the civilian police component will be an appropriate move. Civilian police provide the transition from military to civilian authority and from peacekeeping to peace-building.
As a result of the protracted war in Angola, the security covenant that should exist between the Angolan people and their Government could remain fragile for a long time. Therefore, it is vital to offer assistance in fostering a culture of peace and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Thus, all the components of MONUA have a vital role to play in the Angolan situation: the military task force will continue to enforce the ceasefire while the civilian police provide monitoring and training of the Angolan National Police so that democratic principles can finally take root in the country.
A lasting, self-sustaining security and police structure in Angola, based on the confidence of the citizens, needs the unflinching cooperation of the local authorities, for war can be forcibly halted by international troops, but national reconciliation can come only from the people’s hearts and minds. We therefore welcome the impressive work being done in the area of public awareness by the public information network component of MONUA.
My delegation is of the view that the continued presence of MONUA in Angola should not be limited by time bounds, but should rather be measured by the impact made in the implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka peace process. This presence, as we see it, can ensure concentration on the political, economic and social issues and challenges that desperately need attention in Angola. Not only is this presence essential for the accomplishment of the mandated tasks of MONUA, but it is also necessary for the creation of conditions conducive to the holding of future elections.
In the light of what I have said, my delegation supports the draft resolution before us and will vote in favour of it.
I thank the representative of the Gambia for the kind words he addressed to me and to other past and present members of the Council.
My delegation congratulates you warmly, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of January. We are confident that your wisdom and dynamism will enable the Council to achieve great success in its work. My delegation thanks the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, as well as all the personnel of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), for their efforts to bring peace and stability to Angola. We also convey our thanks and appreciation to the countries of the troika — Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America — and to all others that support the peace process in Angola.
The situation in Angola urgently needs strong support and a full commitment by the two parties to the conflict to achieve the reconciliation for which we have been waiting all too long and to put an end to this long conflict so that the “peace train” can move forward. Given the current state of affairs, a United Nations presence is important for the achievement of a final, positive conclusion to this tragic situation. In the light of the difficult humanitarian conditions that the conflict has brought about for the Angolan people, it is urgent that life in Angola return to normal. Unless the conflict comes to an end, it will be most difficult to resettle displaced persons and to provide basic, essential services — notwithstanding the ongoing efforts of United Nations specialized agencies.
My delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council today, because we believe it is necessary to support peace and security in Angola. The extension of the mandate of MONUA assumes a genuine commitment by the two parties to respect their obligations and to fulfil their peace obligations under the new timetable approved by the Joint Commission.
My delegation congratulates you, Sir, on the skill with which you have presided over the work of the Security Council. I have no doubt that, under your presidency, our work will be successful. I also congratulate your predecessor on the verve with which he too guided the work of the Council. My greetings go also to all other members of the Council.
My delegation takes this opportunity to express its full support for the draft resolution on which the Security Council is about to take action. In our view, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) is vital and must therefore be given all the means necessary to complete its task. We believe it essential to strengthen the Mission’s military and administrative capacity.
We are pleased to note that in several paragraphs the draft resolution calls upon the Government of Angola and, most particularly, upon UNITA to cooperate fully in ensuring the success of MONUA, inter alia by taking every step to adhere to the timetable upon which they have agreed. We consider also that the long-awaited meeting, on Angolan soil, of the two main leaders would constitute a major step forward towards a final settlement of the conflict. We therefore support the recommended three-month extension of the mandate of MONUA.
We are pleased to note that the draft resolution highlights the need to continue programmes for the demobilization and social reintegration of ex-combatants: if these programmes are not completed, peace will remain fragile.
I cannot conclude my statement without thanking the Secretary-General for his report or without conveying our thanks to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye.
I thank the representative of Gabon for the kind words he addressed to me and to other members of the Council.
Today, the United States joins other members of the Security Council in welcoming the agreement by the Government of Angola and UNITA to a timetable for the completion of the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol by 28 February 1998. This agreement, combined with the upcoming summit meeting between President Dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi in Angola in February, signals a renewed commitment by the Angolan Government and UNITA to end the decades-long conflict and to begin the work of national reconciliation and reconstruction. The fulfilment of the peace process is now in sight.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Maître Blondin Beye, for his devotion to the cause of peace in Angola. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to Luanda. I would also like to commend Mr. Sadry for his contributions since his appointment as Deputy Special Representative.
The United States urges the Government of Angola and UNITA to comply strictly with the timetable for the completion of the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol and, in the spirit of national reconciliation, to exercise restraint and protect the rights of all Angolan citizens as the implementation of the peace process proceeds. As we stated at the time of the adoption of resolution 1135 (1997), if UNITA moves rapidly to complete the remaining tasks in the peace process, the United States stands ready to reconsider the need for sanctions. The burden is on UNITA.
UNITA and the Angolan Government will be able to count on continued international support during this critical final stage of the peace process. Today, the United States will join other Council members in voting for a three-month extension of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), including the retention of up to 1,045 military personnel. We believe that MONUA will help to promote a secure environment conducive to the implementation of the remaining tasks of the peace process.
With the expected completion of the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol by the end of February, the international community should review its engagement in and assistance to Angola. This draft resolution provides the needed flexibility by requesting a mid-term report in March from the Secretary-General. At that time, the Council will be able to review the progress of the peace process and consider whether and how the international community could be of further assistance in a post-MONUA context.
A related issue is the continued presence of Angolan Government forces in Congo-Brazzaville. We again urge the Government of Angola to withdraw its forces expeditiously.
The United States looks forward to the day when the last United Nations military forces can be withdrawn from Angola and MONUA can become the unarmed observer mission it was originally intended to be. Even then, however, we recognize that security problems may remain. For that reason, this draft resolution asks the Government of Angola to take steps to assume the security functions that MONUA troops currently provide for United Nations and humanitarian personnel. The United States believes that the Government of Angola’s integrated police and armed forces should protect United Nations and other international personnel as MONUA transitions out of Angola.
The United States endorses the Secretary-General’s appeal to the Government of Angola and UNITA, as signatories to the Lusaka Protocol, to consider ways in which they might provide additional in-kind and financial support to MONUA, particularly as the fulfilment of the peace process is achieved.
In addition, we call on States to respond to the consolidated inter-agency appeal for Angola for 1998. In particular, the United States is concerned that only about 10,000 of an estimated 6 to 8 million landmines have been cleared from Angolan soil. The United States asks all countries to join our efforts to increase the pace of demining in Angola and globally so that all landmines that threaten civilians can be removed by the year 2010.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the personnel of MONUA — those being withdrawn after a successful mission as well as those remaining in the country — for their contribution to securing a lasting peace for Angola.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of France.
In that capacity, I fully associate myself with the statement made by the representative of the United Kingdom on behalf of the States members of the European Union and associated countries. However, I feel it would be useful briefly to confirm publicly France’s support for the draft resolution under consideration.
The situation in Angola has seen some positive developments, in particular the signing of an agreement on 9 January on a timetable to complete the tasks of the Lusaka Protocol. We cannot but encourage the Government of Angola and UNITA to achieve the goals set in the timetable. We hope in particular that the planned meeting between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will take place.
On the basis of observations and recommendations to be submitted to us by the Secretary-General early in March, the Security Council will consider how, if necessary, to restructure the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola and adapt it to circumstances. In the current phase, however, the three-month extension of the Mission’s mandate, as proposed by the Secretary-General, will contribute to strengthening the positive trend. That is why France will join all the other members who will vote in favour of the draft resolution.
I resume my function as President of the Council.
I shall now put to the vote the draft resolution contained in document S/1998/62.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Bahrain, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, Gabon, Gambia, Japan, Kenya, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1149 (1998).
There are no further speakers 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.