Security Council meeting 3951

Date3 December 1998
S-PV-3951 1998-12-03 13:15 3 December 1998 [[3 December]] [[1998]] /

The situation in Angola Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (S/1998/1110)

The meeting was called to order at 1.15 p.m.

Expression of thanks to the retiring President

The President

As this is the first meeting of the Security Council for the month of December, I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute, on behalf of the Council, to His Excellency Mr. Peter Burleigh, Acting Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, for his service as President of the Security Council for the month of November. I am sure I speak for all members of the Security Council in expressing deep appreciation to Ambassador Burleigh for the great diplomatic skill with which he conducted the Council’s business last month.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

The situation in Angola

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (S/1998/1110)
The President

I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Angola in which she requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

At the invitation of the President, Ms. Coelho Da Cruz (Angola) took a seat at the Council table.
The President

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

Members of the Council have before them the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, document S/1998/1110. Members also have before them document S/1998/1135, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

I give the floor to the representative of Angola.

Ms. Coelho Da Cruz (Angola)

Mr. President, first, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. Let me also congratulate the outgoing President, Ambassador Burleigh, for the outstanding work accomplished during his mandate.

As we mark the fourth year since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol, the promise of peace and national reconciliation in Angola remains unfulfilled. The peace process has experienced serious reversals as a result of Mr. Savimbi’s refusal to honour his commitments and his unrelenting pursuit of a military solution to Angola’s political problems. Despite all the many resolutions adopted by this Council, including resolutions imposing travel, financial and trade sanctions against the UNITA militaristic wing, and despite the tremendous investment made by the international community in terms of human and financial resources, the situation in Angola remains volatile.

The reason for this dangerous situation is clear and was plainly stated in the Secretary-General’s report: Jonas Savimbi is primarily responsible for the current state of affairs. He repeatedly ignores Security Council resolutions and makes a mockery of this organ’s role in the peace process. In recent months, UNITA, under Savimbi’s leadership, has rearmed and has launched violent attacks on civilian international aid workers, United Nations personnel and Angolan Government authorities. Last month, Angolan and foreign civilian workers at a diamond industrial facility were killed and some others kidnapped by Mr. Savimbi’s forces.

Most recently, Savimbi has become more brazen in his disdain for the United Nations. In violation of international law and the Lusaka Protocol, the UNITA militaristic wing has taken 15 members of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) hostage in Bailundo and Andulo, refusing to allow United Nations planes to land and evacuate these individuals. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the lawless acts of a desperate man who refuses to operate within the bounds of the Peace Accords. We urge the Council to join us in condemning such rogue acts against United Nations personnel. Such desperate acts place in jeopardy the safety and security of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals and must not be tolerated in any way. To prevent similar situations from occurring, the Angolan Government recommends that all remaining MONUA personnel be consolidated into areas under the Government’s authority.

The present situation in Angola was not inevitable. On many occasions my Government warned the Council of the serious problems inherent in the process of demobilizing UNITA soldiers. We repeatedly alerted the Council and the international community to serious violations by UNITA that allowed it to retain a significant fighting force and to Savimbi’s failure to give any evidence of his personal commitment to the peace process. Our concerns led us to call many times for the Council to increase pressure on UNITA in order to compel its leadership to comply with its commitments. Unfortunately, these intercessions were not adequately addressed, and as a result Savimbi was able to implement his military strategy that is now unfolding.

UNITA’s latest actions demand an equally strong reaction from the international community. Time and again we have seen that UNITA responds only to pressure. Any strides that have been made in the process may be traced directly to the imposition of United Nations sanctions. In order to compel Mr. Savimbi to cease his war-like behaviour, additional pressure must be brought to bear upon him. We insist that the United Nations and its Member States redouble their efforts to enforce existing sanctions against Savimbi and his personal army to deny them access to military equipment and financial resources to fuel their war machine. We call on the Security Council to interdict all UNITA’s communication links and to ban the transfer of all communications equipment to UNITA. UNITA’s assets must also be frozen. Travel sanctions must be more effectively enforced as well.

Further, and most importantly, I must reaffirm my Government’s decision not to have further contact, at any level, with Savimbi. Any effort to engage Savimbi again will be counter-productive and will undermine the stated goals of the Security Council.

While we must make clear that the Security Council and the international community will not tolerate Savimbi’s militaristic stance, we must also find those within UNITA who are willing to work toward peace. By insisting on the use of force, Savimbi has chosen to remove himself from the peace process, and a new UNITA leadership has stepped up to take his place. My Government welcomes that new leadership, UNITA-Renovada, and urges the international community to do likewise.

While we all had hoped that the United Nations Observer Mission to Angola would long ago have finished its job of monitoring the implementation of the peace agreement, clearly this is not the case. Thus, my Government will endorse the Security Council’s recommendation that MONUA’s mandate be extended for three months. We take this position because we are convinced that a precipitous withdrawal of MONUA is in no one’s interest.

However, we must emphasize that MONUA cannot remain in Angola indefinitely, just as the peace process cannot remain open-ended forever.

I want to assure the Council that the Government of Angola remains committed to the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. We will continue to pursue serious dialogue with those who genuinely seek peace and national reconciliation. We strongly believe that in the near future, the Government, working with UNITA-Renovada and the United Nations, can and must officially and definitely conclude the Lusaka Protocol. At that time, we will look to the Security Council to adopt language acknowledging the conclusion of the Lusaka Protocol and endorsing the withdrawal of MONUA.

My Government has waited long enough for Savimbi to choose the path of peace. Angola is facing severe economic and political challenges that can no longer be placed on hold because of the whims of one man. We must close this chapter of Angolan history. We, and the international community, cannot and must not allow Savimbi to hold a nation hostage any longer.

In conclusion, we want to urge the international community to continue and, if possible, to increase its assistance to those Angolans who have been most affected by the consequences of UNITA’s military attacks.

The resolution to be adopted today has the support of my Government. We hope that it will contribute to the rapid installation of peace and stability in Angola.

The President

I thank the representative of Angola for the kind words she addressed to me.

It is my understanding that the Security Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution (S/1998/1135) before it. If I hear no objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

favour against
abstain absent

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

The President

There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1213 (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.

The meeting rose at 1.30 p.m.
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