The situation in Angola Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in Angola (S/2000/678).
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)
|Mr. Shen Guofang
Madam President, let me begin by thanking you for scheduling this public meeting on the situation in Angola. We also thank Ambassador Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, for introducing the latest report of the Secretary-General and for his very useful and comprehensive additional remarks. We welcome also the presence of Mr. Malungo, Minister for Social Assistance of Angola, as well as his very informative and, I must say, encouraging statement.
The Security Council has addressed the situation in Angola at regular intervals since hostilities resumed in December 1998. While addressing all aspects of the situation, we nevertheless have devoted particular attention to ways and means of promoting the peace process.
We continue to support the validity of the Lusaka Protocol, as does the Government of Angola. As we have said earlier, it is the intransigence of UNITA and its insistence on pursuing a military campaign that has derailed the peace process and hindered the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. UNITA needs to be reminded that there is no military option for it.
We note with satisfaction that the sanctions imposed on UNITA in the area of arms, oil and diamonds have taken significant effect. We reiterate our full support for the strengthened United Nations sanctions regime, especially as concerns illegal diamonds. The recent World Diamond Congress expressed the support of the diamond industry for the efforts of the Security Council through the adoption of a resolution. Bangladesh strongly believes that UNITA will soon find out the futility of the military campaign that it is pursuing. We must not, however, relent.
At this point, I would like to pay tribute to the role played by Ambassador Fowler in this regard in his capacity as the Chairman of the Angola sanctions Committee. His determination and thoroughness have yielded results and need to be emulated in other areas as well.
The Government of Angola’s military initiative continues to meet with success in its quest to extend its authority over areas under UNITA control. The conventional war capability of UNITA has been further reduced. As mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General of 12 July, the hostilities have had a negative impact on the law and order situation throughout the country. We learned in his last report that the military developments have exacerbated the humanitarian situation and affected the free movement of people in the country. People have been forced to leave their homes with almost no means of subsistence. Furthermore, help and assistance from the international community have not been able to reach the people in need.
We believe that these issues should be addressed in order to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. We also need to encourage the Government of Angola to continue to cooperate with the United Nations agencies already working in the field in addressing the humanitarian situation and in improving the situation of those people who are at risk. As was indicated in the report of the rapid assessment mission of the Emergency Relief Coordinator in March, urgent steps need to be taken so that the situation does not deteriorate to the point of crisis. We believe that we share the same view in the Council.
We are happy to note that the Government of Angola took the assessment seriously and, as mentioned in the present report of the Secretary-General, actively participated in drawing up an emergency plan of action. We fully support this approach of identifying the critical needs of the at-risk population and devising a strategy with major objectives. We support the focus of the plan on nutrition, sustenance for internally displaced persons before the planting season, water and sanitation programmes, and mother and child health-care programmes. We also support the ongoing response to the outbreak of disease and the vaccination campaign.
The magnitude of the situation is reflected in the statistic that the total number of internally displaced persons represents approximately 20 per cent of the population of Angola. However, we believe the measures contemplated will be useful.
We commend the Government of Angola and the United Nations agencies, as well as the non-governmental organizations, for their efforts in drawing up resettlement plans in accordance with certain minimum operational standards. It is also gratifying to note that some return movements of displaced persons have been noticed. We need to put in place conditions that will sustain and eventually increase these movements.
It need not be repeated that access to the civilian population in dire need of assistance is pivotal to any measurable success in containing the situation. We encourage the Government of Angola to do all it can to help facilitate this access. It is heartening to note that with new locations coming under its administration, humanitarian access has increased.
Finally, Bangladesh believes that the humanitarian efforts in Angola represent a part of the whole. We need to set our sights on the ultimate objective of achieving durable peace in Angola. As we said on an earlier occasion, the process is political. To our mind, there is a need to create a political space for an open dialogue with all, including UNITA. The civil society in Angola has started voicing its opinion in favour of cessation of hostilities and for a broad-based dialogue for peace and genuine national reconciliation.
I would like to thank you, Madam President, for the initiative of convening this debate. We believe that it is very timely for the Security Council to have an open meeting on the question of Angola in its entirety, that is, to consider the military, political and humanitarian aspects of the conflict. I thank Ambassador Gambari, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, for his report and for the excellent work he is doing. I would like also to welcome the Minister for Social Affairs of Angola, Mr. Albino Malungo.
The primary responsibility for the serious deterioration of the military and political situation in Angola rests with UNITA. There is no doubt that Jonas Savimbi systematically failed to comply with the obligations stemming from the Lusaka Protocol of 1994. He failed to rise to the challenge to live in peace and democracy. Having said that, in our view there is no viable long-term military solution to the situation in Angola. Almost 25 years of fratricidal struggle have borne out this statement. Institutional stability and sustained economic growth in Angola can be achieved only through broad-ranging, inclusive and candid political dialogue, with the participation of all sectors, particularly civil society.
In our view, the Lusaka Protocol, with the adjustments required, continues to provide an adequate basis for the durable resolution of the conflict. Within the context of bolstering democratic institutions, we note with satisfaction President Dos Santos’ decision to hold general elections in 2001.
The establishment and effective operation of the United Nations Office in Angola is a step in the right direction and ensures the continued presence of our Organization in that country. With the consent of the Government of Angola, its structure should be strengthened gradually. We support a multidimensional United Nations presence in Angola, because it seems to us that this would be an important instrument in seeking effective means of restoring peace and consolidating the rule of law.
We believe that the sanctions regime imposed on UNITA is an instrument that is consistent with an approach based on a political solution, and not an exclusively military approach, to the conflict. The effectiveness of the sanctions regime is directly linked to the peace process. It is a key element on which the quest for a solution to the Angola conflict rests. In that regard, we share the view that sanctions imposed by the Security Council must not be punitive, but rather must foster the creation of conditions conducive to dialogue among the parties.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of the sanctions regimes is directly linked to the confidence of the Government of Angola in the United Nations. In this regard, Argentina wishes to underscore once again the outstanding job being done by Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada as Chairman of the UNITA sanctions Committee. The panel report, contained in document S/2000/203, is a significant effort to clarify relevant issues, namely, how sanctions are being violated, who is violating them and what measures can be taken to make the sanctions a more effective instrument.
The issuance of the report had a significant impact, and we believe that it will continue to have positive effects. Not only has it mobilized the States mentioned in the report, but it has also mobilized the diamond industry, arms manufacturers, neighbouring countries and countries of the subregion. It has also raised the awareness, as none has in the past, of the international community as a whole.
The ongoing armed conflict has had a devastating effect on the civilian population. The Secretary-General’s most recent report is very eloquent in this regard. As was pointed out in the debate, there are more than 2.5 million internally displaced persons, and it is estimated that 1 million people require humanitarian assistance. Approximately 3 million people are inaccessible to the humanitarian organizations. We believe that one of the purposes of this debate must be to alert world public opinion, and particularly the donor countries, to the humanitarian situation in Angola. The international community has the moral duty not to abandon the Angolan people.
For more than 20 years the international community has been struggling to find a peaceful resolution to the Angolan conflict. Argentina can associate itself directly with these efforts, as it began to deploy military observers as early as 1989, with the establishment of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission, and it participated in mine-clearance work through the White Helmets. As a member of the Security Council and as the current coordinator of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic, a forum of dialogue and cooperation that brings together three South American countries and 21 African countries, Argentina will do its utmost to help end the conflict in Angola.
We are convinced that there is no dispute that cannot be resolved peacefully and fairly if both parties are motivated by a genuine will to engage in dialogue and act reasonably and moderately. We believe that after so much bloodshed, both parties have an inescapable obligation to the Angolan people to find a definitive resolution of the conflict.
At the outset, I would like to welcome the presence of His Excellency Mr. Albino Malunga, the Minister for Social Assistance of Angola.
Like my colleagues who spoke before, I too would like to thank you, Madam President, for convening this public meeting of the Security Council. The situation in Angola, despite its gravity and severity, has not been discussed in open format for quite a long time. This may create a misleading impression that the United Nations remains uncertain as to its exact role in the settlement of the Angolan conflict. We believe that any uncertainty of that kind must be dispelled. Since the day it became a member of the Security Council, Ukraine has been advocating a better-devised and more energetic international policy towards the conflict in Angola. We hope very much that today’s meeting will contribute to this momentous task.
It is very important that the Security Council commitment to improving the effectiveness of the measures imposed against UNITA, and Canada’s leadership in this endeavour, are producing really positive effects, weakening the rebel movement and curtailing its ability to wage war.
The efforts in this area are expected to continue with the same dynamism. In this respect, Ukraine welcomes the recent entry into operation of the monitoring mechanism established pursuant to resolution 1295 (2000). My Government is prepared to provide every support to the monitoring mechanism in discharging its mandate. We also commend the recent decision by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to establish a special committee to monitor the sanctions against UNITA.
At the same time, it has been repeatedly stated that these efforts will contribute to the establishment of lasting peace and stability in Angola only if linked to a wider peace process. My delegation believes that the Angolan people will benefit only if the United Nations takes a more assertive stance on the urgency of such a process.
The Secretary-General’s report of 12 July confirms that although Government forces continue to make progress in reducing the conventional war capability of UNITA, guerrilla activities persist in many parts of the country, perpetuating the prevailing insecurity among the population.
Taking into account the primary responsibility of UNITA for the resumed fighting, Ukraine agrees with the importance attached by the Government of Angola to its military successes in conventional war against the rebel movement. However, the sad experience of the twentieth century proves that, in contrast to conventional warfare, guerrilla wars may last for long decades and that in most cases those wars are won with better results at the negotiating table.
The urgent need for a negotiated settlement of the conflict is further highlighted by the precarious humanitarian situation in Angola, which, according to many sources, continues to deteriorate. In this connection, my delegation subscribes entirely to the appeal to all parties to facilitate the delivery of emergency relief assistance to all those in need.
Certainly we do not underestimate the complexity of the objective of stopping the war in Angola. Ukraine understands the position of the Government of Angola that the current UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi, can no longer be considered a trusted counterpart in any eventual political negotiations.
In this respect, UNITA has to be told that it is in its interests to put forward a new, unblemished leader, in whom the Angolan Government can place its confidence and who will be in a position to guarantee compliance with any negotiated agreement. In our view, the United Nations could play a very concrete role in influencing internal changes within UNITA. Ukraine also strongly supports the view that the Lusaka Protocol remains the most viable basis for the restoration of peace in Angola. In this connection, we attach great importance to the recent statement by President José Eduardo dos Santos about the validity of the Lusaka Protocol.
Ukraine strongly supports and associates itself with the request in the statement made by the United States on behalf of the troika that intensified efforts be made to determine the fate of the crews and the passengers of Russian and Ukrainian commercial aeroplanes downed under suspicious circumstances over territory that was controlled by UNITA, as well as the fate of the other foreign nationals missing in Angola.
I cannot but use this opportunity to express our satisfaction with the recent release by UNITA of five Russian crewmen who had been taken hostage in May 1999.
In conclusion, I join previous speakers in commending the efforts of Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari to explore the prospects for peace in Angola. My delegation wishes him every success in his difficult but very important endeavour.
The representative of France is to speak on behalf of the European Union. We fully endorse everything in his statement, and I will limit myself therefore to making the following remarks.
While we welcome the fact that the Government has reduced UNITA’s conventional war capability, this development has not led to an improvement in the security situation. In the absence of dialogue, Savimbi has reverted to all-out guerrilla warfare, and since Government control tends to be limited to urban areas his forces are able to terrorize rural populations in many parts of Angola.
As a result, the humanitarian situation remains bleak. One in five Angolans is now displaced. Most of the displaced cannot return and remain dependent on outside assistance. Relief workers are being deliberately targeted by UNITA. This year alone the Netherlands has already supported relief activities with some $7 million. But there is more that the Angolan Government, for its part, could do as well. It should take steps to improve security in rural areas, allow relief workers full access to the population and promote demining and other activities aimed at returning the displaced.
What should now be possible, however, as a result of the consolidation of Government authority throughout the country, is for the Government to engage in efforts leading to a political settlement. Paragraph 9 of the Secretary-General’s report seems to suggest as much. It is promising that Angolan civil society is nudging the Government in the direction of a meaningful dialogue, and we should encourage President dos Santos to welcome such developments. In this context, the moment has come for the United Nations Office in Angola to play an active role. We therefore welcome Professor Gambari’s confirmation of the imminent appointment of the Head of that Office.
Sadly, the human rights situation all over Angola’s territory remains as alarming as that described in the Secretary-General’s previous report. We fully agree with the Secretary-General that respect for human rights and good governance should be part of any effort to bring the conflict to an end. Actions like those taken against journalists are incompatible with the efforts of the international community to assist the Government in pacifying the country and, through this, contribute to the well-being of the Angolan people.
There are signs that at long last the efforts of the international community to put pressure on UNITA are beginning to have the desired effect. Sanctions really seem to be biting, and it stands to reason that we should step up our efforts. Therefore, we eagerly await the first report of the second Panel of Experts tasked with monitoring implementation of the sanctions. Equally important are the developments within the diamond industry, where an awareness is growing of the unacceptability of “blood diamonds”. We hope the proposals of the recent World Diamond Congress in Antwerp will be implemented effectively as soon as possible.
At this point I should like to second the words of praise addressed once again by many around this table to Ambassador Fowler for his very important and highly innovative work for effective implementation of the sanctions against UNITA. I am sure that Ambassador Fowler would agree that this is perhaps also the appropriate moment for the Security Council to recognize the groundbreaking work that non-governmental organizations have done in this regard.
Finally, it is very good news that the Angolan Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed to a staff monitored programme. We see this as a first step towards the long overdue normalization of Angola’s relationship with the IMF and other international donors. The Angolan Government should recognize that transparency and accountability are essential elements of further progress down this path. We urge the Government and the IMF to commit themselves to a successful completion of the programme.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of Jamaica.
My delegation joins previous speakers in thanking Under-Secretary-General, Ibrahim Gambari, the Adviser to the Secretary-General for Special Assignments in Africa, for his clear and comprehensive briefing on the situation in Angola.
We also welcome Minister Malungo and thank him for the important statement he made on behalf of the Government of Angola.
Jamaica continues to be very concerned about the continuing war in Angola. Ambassador Gambari’s briefing and the Secretary-General’s report clearly remind us of the adverse effects that the years of fighting have had on all segments of Angolan society.
UNITA’s leader, Jonas Savimbi, has been given numerous opportunities to reach a political settlement to the conflict, yet his forces continue to perpetrate wanton violence on the people of Angola. Those who assist UNITA to continue the fighting are equally culpable for the perpetuation of the human tragedy in Angola. In this context, we wish to underline the tribute paid to Ambassador Robert Fowler for his leadership of the sanctions Committee against UNITA and to thank him for his efforts to bring peace to the people of Angola.
My delegation renews its call for the leaders of UNITA to abide by the key provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and to instruct their forces to lay down their weapons and allow state administration to be extended throughout the country. It is time for responsible leaders of UNITA to accept that a political solution is the only route towards securing an end to Angola’s intractable and tragic civil war.
The re-emergence of civil society in Angola is an encouraging beginning for the return to normalcy. We are encouraged by reports that some members of UNITA have reacted positively to the initiative of Angolan church leaders to mediate a negotiated peace between UNITA and the Angolan Government. We are fully aware of past deceptions by UNITA’s leadership. However, we believe that efforts aimed at achieving peace must be encouraged and nurtured by the international community.
My delegation continues to be deeply disturbed by the precarious humanitarian situation of the population. We note that, at the end of June, the number of internally displaced persons was estimated at 2.5 million, or some 20 per cent of the entire population of the country. This number, although representing a small decrease over the number for May, speaks to the sense of insecurity still existing in large sections of the country. The 25 years of conflict have had a serious negative effect on the youth in Angola, who continue to be killed, maimed, sexually abused, recruited as child soldiers and deprived of access to health care and education. We support the Secretary-General’s proposals to include Child Protection Advisers as an integral part of the mission of the United Nations Office In Angola (UNOA).
We welcome the efforts of the Government and United Nations agencies to draft minimum operational standards for the resettlement of displaced persons into safe areas and also welcome the collaboration between the Government, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to implement a plan of action for food security, health and nutrition, mine action and other vital areas. Jamaica urges the donor community to respond generously to the next United Nations Consolidated Appeal that will be presented in August. The implementation of the action plan is timely, as access to populations at risk increases as more regions come under government administration.
We are encouraged by indications that the Government is prepared to recognize the existence of human rights abuses and to develop regular procedures to address these. In this regard, the invitation, reported yesterday, of President Dos Santos to journalist associations and unions to participate in the drafting of a new press law is welcome news. This invitation by the Government marks the beginning of a debate on press freedom, the guarantee of which will go a long way towards ensuring that the necessary checks and balances are in place to safeguard human rights.
We must assist the fledgling civil society in promoting dialogue between the parties and thereby creating an energetic political structure in which political change is affected by the ballot box. We realize that this is an arduous task to reverse the mind-set created by over 25 years of war.
The United Nations, in collaboration with the Government of Angola, must increase its role in providing guidance for institution-building and on the practical implications of democratization. We therefore commend the efforts of the United Nations Development Programme to provide support for the capacity-building of government institutions, such as was provided to the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration for the coordination of humanitarian assistance.
Another critical area which must be addressed is that of infrastructure redevelopment. We agree with the Secretary-General’s observation in his report that there is an urgent need to begin to rebuild the destroyed physical and social infrastructures of Angola and to afford the people of Angola the opportunity to optimize the potential that that country’s rich natural and human resources are capable of.
My delegation, fully supported the adoption of resolution 1294 (2000), by which the mandate of UNOA was extended. UNOA, which was established to liase with the political, military, police and other civilian authorities in Angola, has an important role to play in exploring capacity-building, humanitarian assistance and the promotion of human rights. We welcome the news that the Head of UNOA will be appointed shortly and are sure that this appointment will result in the strengthening of collaboration between UNOA, the Government and other parties in seeking ways to support the current efforts aimed at achieving sustainable peace in Angola.
Finally, we cannot forget the tragic loss of life of United Nations officials, including Mr. Blondin Beye. We therefore welcome the assistance of the Government in investigating the crashes of the two United Nations aircraft in regions recently recovered from rebel positions. In the same vein, we welcome the release by UNITA of the five Russian crewmen who were taken hostage in May 1999.
I now resume my functions as the President of the Council.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — and the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey join in this statement.
At the outset, I wish to welcome the Minister for Social Assistance of Angola and to thank him for the very interesting statement he made this morning.
I also wish to thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari for his briefing on the conflict in Angola, one of the longest conflicts experienced by Africa and in which progress on the road to peace has, unfortunately, been far too slow. The most recent report of the Secretary-General has been helpful in identifying some of the difficulties that will have to be overcome in order for a settlement to be achieved and for the sufferings of the Angolan people to be alleviated.
The primary responsibility for the Angolan conflict falls to UNITA, which has failed to respect the commitments it had undertaken to bring about a restoration of peace. The European Union condemns once again in the most solemn manner the military initiatives of UNITA and its leader, Jonas Savimbi, as well as the acts of guerrilla warfare in which his troops are engaged.
The European Union shares the Secretary-General’s concern about the lack of significant efforts to achieve a political settlement to the conflict. As recalled in its Joint Position of 19 June, the European Union is ready to support, within the framework of its common foreign and security policy, any initiative likely to contribute to such a political solution on the basis of the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. The European Union welcomes and encourages the commendable initiatives taken by the churches and more generally by civil society, as demonstrated most recently by the meeting in Luanda of the Congress for Peace this month.
The European Union intends to continue supporting the international community’s efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures and sanctions against UNITA. The European Union welcomes the recent establishment of a monitoring mechanism, by resolution 1295 (2000), and intends to fully support it. It calls upon all States to cooperate, and welcomes the fact that some, particularly among those cited in the report of the Panel of Experts published this spring, have made known their readiness to welcome United Nations representatives in charge of follow-up of sanctions against UNITA. The European Union encourages them to maintain this cooperative approach, which also has been shown in a number of cases by their decisions to break off all relations with UNITA. Moreover, the Union recalls that it is ready to provide assistance to African States, in particular the Southern African Development Community (SADC) States, to assist them in ensuring full implementation of the sanctions.
It is gratifying to note that the illicit trade in diamonds, through which UNITA finances its war effort, is now the subject of increased awareness, to which the tireless and very active efforts of Ambassador Fowler have contributed. The World Diamond Congress, which has just been held in Antwerp, provided an encouraging illustration of this awareness. We should observe that, for its part, the Security Council is now making an effort to identify the links between the exploitation of and illicit trafficking in raw materials and the continuation of conflicts. After Angola the Council has created groups of experts working on the situation in the Great Lakes region, as well as in Sierra Leone. The European Union will support these various efforts by tackling the roots of conflict. The proposal made during the G-8 Summit in Okinawa to create a permanent group of independent experts, under Security Council control and appointed by the Secretary-General, to finalize the modalities for banning such illicit trafficking, should be carefully studied and implemented.
The humanitarian situation in Angola today is disastrous. The resumption of the conflict on a vast scale has had destructive effects on populations and resulted in new movements of refugees and internally displaced persons. As is stated in the Secretary-General’s report, it is estimated that today there are 2.5 million displaced persons in Angola — approximately 20 per cent of the population. We should emphasize the efforts made by the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support these refugees and displaced persons, who are in need of urgent support from the international community.
This drastic situation is exacerbated by the continuation of the conflict. The delivery of humanitarian assistance is running into difficulties linked to the absence of security on numerous key access roads. The European Union joins in the Secretary-General’s appeal that all parties involved facilitate the delivery of emergency relief, which must be distributed without restrictions and with full security, in accordance with internationally recognized humanitarian principles.
For their part, the Angolan authorities should implement a social and economic policy for the benefit of the populations of the areas they have taken back from UNITA, a prerequisite for a genuine peace process. Moreover, it is imperative that the parties, and UNITA in particular, cease laying mines and ensure that such weapons are duly recorded, in such a way that they can be eliminated.
When the Council met yesterday to deal with the issue of children and armed conflict we were obliged to note that the situation in Angola is, from that point of view also, tragic. Generations of children have grown up during the conflict, and many have never known any other reality than conflict, whether because they have been soldiers or because they have been orphaned, maimed or displaced.
The European Union once again pays tribute to the efforts made by the United Nations in the service of peace; it has already paid a heavy price in human life in the Angola conflict. The Union hopes that light can be shed on the conditions in which two of the Organization’s aeroplanes crashed at the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999. The European Union welcomes the fact that the Angolan authorities have been able to strengthen security and are in a position to assist the United Nations team to visit the sites to investigate.
The European Union believes that the United Nations has a role to play in assisting the Government of Angola, in particular in its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and practices and to ensure respect for human rights, freedom of the media and the norms of the rule of law. As was rightly emphasized in the Secretary-General’s report, respect for human rights and good governance are required to end the conflict. The European Union hails and encourages the efforts to this end made by the United Nations Office in Angola. We thank Ambassador Gambari for having kindly told us that perhaps as soon as tomorrow we will know the name of the future head of the United Nations Office in Angola.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Japan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I thank you, Madam President, for convening this open meeting on Angola, giving Japan an opportunity to present its views on this important subject. I wish to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General, as well as to his Special Adviser on Africa, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, for their comprehensive reports on the situation and for their tireless efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
The chief obstacle to ending the conflict in Angola is the continued guerrilla activity of UNITA’s rebel forces under Jonas Savimbi. We are particularly concerned over reports of guerrilla activity near the Namibian and Zambian borders, which is destabilizing the situation in those countries. It is therefore incumbent upon the international community to closely follow the situation, lest Angola’s civil war develop into a regional conflict. In this regard, we appreciate the efforts that Special Adviser Gambari made to strengthen the relations of trust between the United Nations and the Government of Angola during his visit in May.
Since 1993 the Security Council has imposed economic sanctions against Angola, and specifically UNITA. These include the prohibition of trade in arms, petroleum products, and diamonds; travel restrictions on persons associated with UNITA; and the freezing of UNITA’s assets. Regrettably, however, as described in the report of the Angolan sanctions Committee, these sanctions have been blatantly violated by various countries and individuals, and thus rendered largely ineffective. Unless the sanctions regime is strengthened, an early settlement of the Angolan conflict cannot be expected. It is Japan’s view, therefore, that rather than focusing on those countries or individuals that violate the sanctions, the Security Council should explore ways of preventing violations. From this viewpoint, Japan supports the establishment of a mechanism to monitor sanctions violations, or to improve or establish various technical systems to prevent such violations, as recommended by the sanctions Committee in its report.
In today’s discussion we cannot overlook the dire facts and figures that reveal the magnitude of human suffering in Angola. Over the past 20 years, 3.7 million people, or more than one third of the population, have had to flee their homes. Among them are 1.5 million internally displaced persons. It is estimated that, just since January of this year, as many as 250,000 persons have been displaced.
In view of this deteriorating situation, we appreciate the efforts of the Government of Angola to address these problems, as seen in its launching of a national emergency assistance plan in 1999; we hope that the plan will be carried through. However, without international efforts to halt this grave crisis, the situation will surely get worse. Japan therefore welcomes the special appeal for emergency assistance to internally displaced persons in Angola issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) based on a request by the Government of Angola. In response to that appeal, Japan is now examining positively the way to make a concrete contribution to address this increasingly serious situation. We hope that the positive response of the international community to the appeal will contribute to ensuring the human security of those who have been displaced, and eventually to promoting capacity-building, a process which, in the long run, will contribute to the prevention of conflict in Angola.
The next speaker is the representative of Mozambique. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
We would like to thank you, Madam President, for the initiative to convene this meeting to discuss the situation in Angola. We thank the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, for his eloquent presentation of the report of the Secretary-General and for his dedication to the Angolan issue.
The continuing hostilities in Angola constitute a major setback for the people of that sisterly country, and indeed for all peace-loving nations. The resumption of war in Angola is a source of concern not only for my country but also for the rest of the southern African region, the African continent and the international community as a whole.
The refusal of UNITA to comply with the Lusaka Protocol, in particular its failure to demilitarize its forces and to allow State administration to be extended throughout the country, is the primary reason for the escalation of the conflict in Angola. This situation has had devastating effects on the population of Angola, in the social, economic and humanitarian fields.
As discussed in this Chamber yesterday, generations of children have been exposed throughout their entire lives to just one reality, that of war. Many of them are forced to bear arms and to participate in hostilities, while others have been and continue to be victimized.
Because of a lack of security in rural areas, a large number of people have been forced to abandon their lands, where they used to produce food and cash crops. As a result of that situation, a population of 2.5 million internally displaced persons, representing 20 per cent of the total population of Angola, is now concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas. This has reduced access to piped water, health care, education and other basic needs, drastically affecting the living standards of the population and efforts for poverty reduction.
The refusal by the UNITA of Jonas Savimbi to comply with the Lusaka Protocol has plunged the country into a serious humanitarian disaster. More than 1 million persons rely on food distribution to survive, and a total of 2.5 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. But humanitarian assistance cannot reach all those in need, owing to UNITA guerrilla activities in parts of the country.
The recent progress made by Government forces in recovering areas of the country previously under UNITA control has increased access to populations at risk. However, the extension of State administration to those areas has created an additional burden for the Government. There is an urgent need to provide the population currently under State administration, and all others in need, with basic needs and safe resettlement areas. We would like to commend the Government of Angola for taking the lead in preparing an emergency plan of action to address humanitarian needs in collaboration with several humanitarian agencies and the donor community.
In this regard, we welcome the presence here of Mr. Albino Malungo, Minister for Social Assistance of the Republic of Angola. We call on all Member States, United Nations agencies and the donor community to continue and strengthen their support to the people and the Government of Angola and to respond generously to the 2000 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola.
In spite of the efforts of the Angolan Government to address the serious macroeconomic instability and to reduce poverty, a major obstacle lies in the way of achieving the fundamental objective of sustainable human and economic development: the absence of peace. The continuing fighting and the absence of a meaningful chance of a political settlement constitute a serious concern. The people of Angola deserve a better fate, and we urge the international community not to desist from assisting the Angolans to find a solution to the prolonged conflict that has caused untold suffering among the war-fatigued people of that sisterly country.
We commend the reaffirmation by President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola of the validity of the Lusaka Protocol and of his willingness to forgive Mr. Savimbi and his supporters if they renounce war. We urge Mr. Savimbi and his supporters to cease hostilities and to honour their commitments under the Lusaka Protocol, creating the necessary conditions for broad-based dialogue for durable peace and national reconciliation
We also urge all Member States and the international community as a whole to comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions on Angola, with a view in particular to putting an end to the illicit trade in arms and the illicit exploitation of and trade in diamonds, which are responsible for fuelling the conflict in Angola. In this regard, we would like to commend the work of the Security Council Committee on sanctions against UNITA under the dynamic leadership of Ambassador Fowler. We wish him well in his new posting.
The conflict in Angola impedes the attainment of sustainable development not only in that country but also in the whole southern African region. The leaders of the Southern African Development Community are fully aware that only the end of conflict in the region can give rise to a favourable climate to enable more investment and economic growth, leading ultimately to the balanced and sustainable development of all the countries of the region.
The Security Council must continue to discharge its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and help the people of Angola and the region to find a durable solution to the conflict.
We commend the Secretary-General’s initiatives on Angola and, in particular, the recent visit to Angola of his Special Adviser on Africa. We encourage him to persevere in his endeavours as further talks with the Angolan authorities, members of political parties and civil society proceed.
It is our fervent hope that, as a result of this important meeting, adequate humanitarian assistance will be provided to alleviate the suffering of the Angolan people.
The next speaker is the representative of Brazil. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I wish first of all to thank you, Madam President, for convening this important meeting. I should also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari for his briefing this morning. Brazil welcomes the presence of Mr. Albino Malungu, Minister for Social Assistance of Angola. We also appreciated his statement this morning.
This meeting follows up on last month’s briefing by Professor Gambari on his visit to Angola. At that time he underlined that one of the objectives of his mission was to consolidate the growing trust between the Government of Angola and the United Nations. After the war resumed in late 1998 the sense of frustration with the United Nations that was felt in Luanda was understandable. We in Brazil perceived that fact, and did our best to restore a good working relationship between Angola and the United Nations.
Having been the victims of a long war against a colonial regime and suffered the brunt of a cold-war-era conflict, the people of Angola are yearning for peace. Today the objective evidence gathered since the signing of the Bicesse Accords points to the undisputable responsibility of Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA for the failure of a 10-year-long United Nations peacekeeping presence in Angola.
An almost continuous state of war has resulted in the destruction of much of Angola’s infrastructure, the creation of huge deficits in education and health services and the condemnation of a large part of its population to untold suffering and the condition of being refugees in their own country.
The Angolan Government made strenuous efforts to implement the “Acordos de Paz” and the Lusaka Protocol. The refusal of UNITA to abide by its peace commitments forced the Angolan Government to uphold its own authority and to limit UNITA’s capacity to wage conventional warfare.
The Security Council recognized UNITA’s responsibility and decided to establish an increasingly complex sanctions regime. The persistence of UNITA’s war-making capacity led this Council to create the Panel of Experts that was so skilfully coordinated by Ambassador Fowler. As a consequence, there is now a worldwide effort to control the illegal traffic in diamonds that fuels wars such those waged by Jonas Savimbi in Angola and Foday Sankoh in Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, however, these important milestones have not yet been translated into meaningful change for those millions of internally displaced Angolans.
The Angolan Government faces the extremely difficult challenge of providing for the basic needs of a growing mass of displaced people and of fighting against guerrilla warfare aimed at the civilian population. In this context, the international community must make a combined effort to strictly implement sanctions against UNITA and provide assistance to the Angolan people, and to do so working closely with the Government of Luanda.
With that in mind, the third Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), held in Maputo on 17 and 18 July, reviewed the situation in Angola and reaffirmed that the absence of peace in that country was a result of the lack of fulfilment of their commitments by Jonas Savimbi and his followers. The Conference also expressed support and solidarity to the Government of Angola in its efforts to suppress armed subversion and re-establish peace under the terms of the Lusaka Protocol.
In Maputo the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil stated that the seven CPLP countries should work together to promote the implementation of United Nations sanctions against UNITA. He said that it was high time to send Jonas Savimbi a clear message about the will of the international community to ensure the end of the Angolan conflict, which he hopes will culminate in the holding of free and fair elections at the end of 2001.
In our view, the strategies needed to tackle humanitarian problems, such as those which afflict Angola, should focus on conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and post-conflict peace-building, and should take into account the multiple dimensions of conflicts.
In the case of Angola, the peacemaking effort embodied in the three United Nations Angola Verification Missions and the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola did not succeed. As the Angolans took into their own hands the task of resolving the war situation, the United Nations established the United Nations Office in Angola, which has, inter alia, the role of coordinating humanitarian actions. They must be based on the principle of shared responsibility and joint efforts. The mandates of the humanitarian and development agencies involved can differ in nature, but they are intertwined, since their goal is the full enjoyment of basic human rights.
It is therefore essential that the United Nations, through its various organs, including this Council and the Economic and Social Council in their respective spheres of competence, cooperate with the Government of Angola with a view to producing synergy in the field of humanitarian assistance in that country. That also means supporting Angola’s own humanitarian programmes.
Civil society in Angola is also organizing itself, as is the Roman Catholic Church. The task of diminishing suffering and preparing for reconstruction is so vast that everybody will have to do more. Organized groups will have to pool their efforts in order to assist local authorities and groups of concerned citizens in upholding the most basic human right — the right to life.
The huge needs of Angola are such that we should think beyond the much needed provision of immediate relief assistance and start to plan the architecture of post-conflict recovery and capacity-building institutions. Immediate relief-assistance actions are essential to address the consequences of situations in which people remain displaced or return under precarious conditions. However, a long-standing solution to the humanitarian situation in Angola depends on a political process that could ensure the transformation of UNITA from an armed opposition movement into a party committed to the establishment of democracy in Angola. The Security Council and the international community should keep that fact in mind while planning a course of action to deal with the situation.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Lesotho. I invite her to take a seat at the Council table and to make her statement.
Madam President, let me begin by commending you for your leadership of the Council during the month of July. I welcome the opportunity to address the Council as it considers yet again the Secretary-General’s report on Angola. We join previous delegations in welcoming Minister Malungo and in thanking Ambassador Gambari for his introduction of the Secretary-General’s report.
We are all aware of the situation that has prevailed in Angola since 1998, when UNITA was discharged from the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation, followed by the return to conflict and the subsequent withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeepers from the country. Over the years, the international community and the Council have stood by as the people of Angola endured untold suffering and hardship, including serious human rights violations, the conscription of child soldiers, and the murder and maiming by landmines of civilians at the hands of Jonas Savimbi and UNITA. Current estimates put the death toll in Angola at close to 1 million. There are over 2 million internally displaced persons, and thousands of refugees have fled to neighbouring countries.
The single motivating factor that has caused Savimbi to continue the civil war in Angola and to refuse to heed the Council’s numerous resolutions is greed for power and for the economic wealth of Angola. While the people of this richly endowed country have suffered economically and otherwise over the years, Savimbi and UNITA have gained from the continuation of the conflict, which they have fuelled by exploiting Angola’s natural resources.
One would have thus expected that following the Council’s adoption of resolution 1295 (2000) in April and the introduction of tougher measures to restrict UNITA’s access to international markets for illegal exports of diamonds and import of fuels and ammunition, the situation in Angola would have changed for the better. Unfortunately, the report before us today does not contain much evidence of a change for the better.
This calls for even more strenuous efforts by this Council and the international community to strengthen the monitoring mechanism for the implementation of resolution 1295 (2000). It was thus a matter of concern to witness some delays in the establishment of the monitoring mechanism envisaged in resolution 1295 (2000), as these delays assured Savimbi of his continued resource base. We accordingly applaud the establishment of this mechanism, the effect of which will be to further tighten the noose around Savimbi’s neck, forcing him to return to dialogue, peace and reconciliation.
The people of Angola have been hungry for peace and stability for a long time, but despite their calls for the cessation of hostilities, and despite efforts by, among others, the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, Under-Secretary Ibrahim Gambari; the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim; and the Director of the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Ross Mountain, violence and insecurity continue to prevail in many parts of Angola, as a result of which the humanitarian situation has deteriorated. Reports of attacks on civilian vehicles, in particular on those of relief agencies, resulting in deaths, injuries and the destruction of property, have forced the World Food Programme and other agencies to abandon distribution of aid by land and to resort to airlifting all supplies, which is considerably more expensive.
In this regard, we note that the response to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal has so far been poor and that while contributions have been made for food, very little funding has been received. Unless the international community responds urgently and generously by making funds available to pay for the cost of airlifting supplies, it will not be possible to avoid the imminent human catastrophe in Angola.
While there is no doubt that displacement and the threat of landmines have kept farmers from producing crops, thus exacerbating famine and intensifying the humanitarian situation, other problems are structural in nature and thus need to be resolved through reforms and longer-term development programmes.
Now that the Government has regained control of large parts of the country, prospects for the farming community to revive the agricultural industry, particularly the once-vibrant coffee industry, have been enhanced. The Government of Angola thus needs to take the necessary steps to mobilize financial resources for the purchase of equipment and raw materials as well as for the rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage systems. Donor community support for revitalizing the coffee industry in Angola will no doubt be a vital catalyst for creating an economically sustainable income for thousands of families in Angola, thus bringing about much-needed change in this war-torn country.
It should be a source of concern that health conditions in Angola have dramatically deteriorated, with a number of preventable diseases, such as polio, bringing death and suffering to an ever-increasing number of people. Efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) and De Beers to harness the further spread of the polio epidemic will not bear much fruit as long as war continues to force thousands of people to leave the hinterland for sanctuary in already overcrowded cities. Resettlement plans for thousands of displaced people should be put in place at the same time that the immunization campaign is intensified.
It should now be clear to all of us that for as long as the war in Angola continues, the needs of the Angolan people will continue to grow. Not only is the Angolan economic infrastructure in turmoil as a result of over 30 years of war, but the country has the highest number of landmines and landmine victims. Human rights abuses are rife, and so is poverty. We cannot but share the view expressed by the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms. Carol Bellamy, that while crises in other parts of the world have received an immediate and generous response from both the public and the media, relatively little attention has been paid to a similar crisis in Angola, one of the many in Africa, where, as the report shows, thousands of people continue to be displaced from their homes, tortured and killed on a daily basis.
We can thus do no more than reiterate appeals for international assistance to the Government of Angola to help it address the serious humanitarian and development crises facing that country and its people.
In conclusion, we wish to pay a well-deserved tribute to Ambassador Fowler for ably chairing the sanctions Committee and for his efforts in ensuring the effectiveness of sanctions against UNITA. While we are saddened by his departure, we wish him every success as he embarks on what will no doubt be another challenging journey in his career.
I now give the floor to the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari.
I wish first of all to thank you, Madam President, for having convened this very productive open meeting and for the skilful manner in which you have conducted the proceedings. I wish also to seize this opportunity to thank my brother, Minister Malungo, for his excellent statement, and I wish to express through him our appreciation to the Government of Angola for sending him to participate in this meeting. This is evidence of the importance that the Government of Angola attaches to the proceedings of this meeting.
May I also thank all members of the Council and all of the other delegations for their important contributions to these discussions. I wish to assure all present that the Secretariat will intensify its efforts to work with the Government and people of Angola in the search for durable peace and sustainable development.
The message we have heard from the discussions in this open meeting today is that the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, United Nations agencies and the international community must redouble their efforts, first, to tighten the sanctions against UNITA; secondly, to complement those of the Government of Angola to respond more fully to the needs of the large percentage of Angolans who are in distress and require urgent humanitarian assistance; and thirdly, to support civil society, the Government and all those who promote the political settlement of the conflict in Angola. The goal which we all share is to end all fighting everywhere in Angola sooner rather than later, and to ensure the success of the work of the United Nations Office in Angola under the leadership of the new head of the Office, who is expected shortly to take up his appointment in Luanda.
Meanwhile, may I, with your permission, Madam President, add a few words to what I said earlier with respect to the humanitarian situation and related matters in Angola, and the contributions being made specifically by some United Nations agencies.
First, in response to a request from the Government of Angola, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) decided in May 2000 to expand UNHCR’s existing operation in Angola, which provides assistance to 13,000 refugees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to include protection and humanitarian assistance to some 300,000 internally displaced persons and returnees, particularly in three provinces of Uíge, Zaire and Luanda.
Because UNHCR is operational it can translate legal principles which protect the rights of internally displaced persons into concrete actions in these three provinces. UNHCR will also assist in meeting urgently needed humanitarian requirements such as health care, shelter, water, education, clothing and so on, while working to promote a degree of self-sufficiency among the beneficiary population.
However, the financial requirements for UNHCR for the rest of the year 2000 for Angola amount to $8.4 million, and approximately $12 million for the year 2001. Therefore, UNHCR has made an appeal to donors, as part of the recently launched United Nations Consolidated Appeal, for $154 million to address the needs of an estimated 2.7 million people. We urge the donor community to respond positively and very generously.
May I also say a word about security. In the last few weeks UNITA has made additional threats to humanitarian workers, and I believe this needs to be strongly condemned, not only by the Secretariat but by the Security Council.
Furthermore, UNDP and OCHA are working with the Government on a strategy to alleviate the situation of internally displaced persons. This needs the support of the international community. There is need, for example, to continue to support the Angolan people with food aid until March-April 2001. Support is needed to provide seeds and tools for the next agricultural campaign. Support for the non-governmental organizations is also needed in the very important work of demining. As several delegations pointed out, this is a very critical issue. Also, the United Nations system is supporting the Government of Angola in its strategy for poverty reduction and alleviation.
I also am delighted to report that the Secretary-General has directed me to go on missions to Zambia and Namibia next week and the following week for consultations with the authorities there on the negative consequences of the spread of the war in Angola to these neighbouring countries. I hope that at some point I may be in a position to report back on my findings to the Council and to recommend ways in which we can respond to some of the issues.
Finally, I wish to convey, on behalf of the Secretary-General and on my own behalf, congratulations to Ambassador Fowler for the excellent work which he has done not only as the Permanent Representative of Canada but in particular for the truly path-breaking contribution he has made to the search for peace in Angola through his extraordinary leadership of the sanctions Committee on Angola. We wish him success in his new assignment in Rome, and he can be sure that some of us will look him up as soon as possible — not all at one time, but one after the other. Mr. Fowler can leave here fully convinced that he has made a difference to the work not only of the Security Council but of the United Nations as a whole. His valuable work on the issue of sanctions against UNITA has greatly helped to restore the credibility of the Security Council and of the United Nations as a whole.
I must confess that I personally have benefited from the good work he has done, because it has helped in many ways in my own efforts to restore the trust and confidence between the United Nations and the Government of Angola. I believe there are also other beneficiaries of his work — the people of Sierra Leone, who will shortly be relieved to note that illegal diamonds will now be difficult to export for sale to finance the war activities of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The Democratic Republic of the Congo will also be a beneficiary of the work of Ambassador Fowler in terms of monitoring and control of illegal exploitation of mineral and other natural resources in that country.
We all owe you a debt of gratitude, Mr. Fowler. Good luck in your new assignment.
I thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari for his briefing today. I wish to express appreciation for his own efforts on behalf of the United Nations to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict in Angola and to restore trust and confidence between the United Nations and the Government of Angola. We have noted from his statement that he will be paying visits to the region in the very near future, and we look forward to further briefings of the Council when he returns.
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 Council will remain seized of the matter.