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
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Angola
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in Angola (S/2000/678)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Angola, Brazil, Japan, Lesotho, Mozambique and Norway, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item of 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.
On behalf of the Council, I welcome the Minister for Social Affairs of Angola, His Excellency Mr. Albino Malungo, and invite him to take a seat at the Council table.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Gambari to take a seat at the Council table.
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 Office in Angola, document S/2000/678.
I now call on the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, to whom the Council has extended an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure.
The presence of the Secretary-General at this open meeting is a clear manifestation of his personal commitment, as well as the institutional commitment, to peace and the prospect of prosperity in Angola. He has instructed that we in the Secretariat must respond positively in addressing the several important issues in Angola which will be discussed today and in the future.
The Security Council’s decision to hold an open meeting on Angola is a very timely one. The people of Angola have been deprived of peace for almost three decades. On 11 November 2000 Angola will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary of independence. But sadly, in the last twenty-five years, Angolans have not witnessed a single year of complete peace. On the contrary, for a quarter of a century they have seen destruction following destruction, countless deaths and the loss of young people, waste of talent and atrocity after atrocity.
The world has also seen several thousand refugees and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons in Angola. We have also seen landmines take many lives and mutilate several others. Indeed, mining of the territory of Angola has taken on a cyclic character. For example, from 1994 to 1998 substantial progress was made in demining some of the most affected areas of the Angolan territory. With the resumption of war, however, landmines were again planted in some areas that had previously been demined and in some new areas, thus making it difficult for the population to resettle and use the land for farming, especially for food production.
Sadly, this is the overall picture of Angola that remains in our minds. Yet, if peace is given a real chance, Angola’s endowment in mineral and human resources provides the country with a great potential to eradicate poverty in a relatively short period and promote the well-being of all Angolans.
After all, Angola is an important oil-exporting country. The country is also one of the world’s richest countries in diamonds, and, at one point, was one of the world’s largest coffee producers. Hence, it is possible to make Angola a prosperous country again if there is the political will to take concrete actions to bring this about.
First, this requires an effort from all of us to help bring this protracted war to an end sooner rather than later. There is a need to stop the fighting, all the fighting, everywhere in Angola. In this regard, the primary responsibility lies with all Angolans. However, their efforts deserve appropriate support from the international community. The starting point is the need to convince ourselves that military force in itself is not sufficient to bring about durable peace in Angola. There is a need for an increased effort in the political, social and economic spheres in order for peace to become a permanent reality in the country. There is a need to adopt a spirit of reconciliation for all Angolans and to instil belief in a common and better future and destiny for all the people of Angola.
Therefore, we must welcome the statement made by President José Eduardo dos Santos on 19 June in Caxito, Bengo Province, in which he expressed the idea of pardoning all the members of UNITA, including perhaps Savimbi, if they decide to lay down their arms and commit themselves to peace, reconciliation and the rebuilding of Angola. This attitude will indeed contribute to the promotion of peace and reconciliation in the country.
As the Secretary-General indicated in his last report (S/2000/304) to the Council, the continuing fighting and its devastating effect on the population is deeply disturbing. Last week United Nations agencies reported that there had been an attack by a UNITA contingent of about 100 men 6 kilometres from the city of Huambo, in which a number of people were killed, while others, including children, were kidnapped. Furthermore, the conflict in Angola continues to impact negatively on neighbouring countries, particularly Namibia and Zambia.
These developments, which we are witnessing every day, reinforce the urgent need to put an end to this war. I sincerely trust that soon, with the participation of all the peace-loving people in Angola, we can take meaningful steps towards the settlement of this conflict. In this regard, again the statement made by President dos Santos in Caxito, reaffirming the commitment of his Government to the Lusaka Protocol, is indeed a good basis for the political settlement of the conflict in Angola.
Secondly, we must reaffirm the fact that UNITA bears the primary responsibility for the return to war in Angola. Its refusal to comply with key provisions of the Lusaka Protocol — in particular, its failure to demilitarize and to allow the State administration to be extended throughout the country — precipitated the resumption of war. UNITA is also to be blamed for the failure to implement the Bicesse Accords in 1991 and the Lusaka Protocol in 1994. It is this failure to live up to voluntarily signed peace agreements that is primarily responsible for the renewed violence and the continuation of the war in Angola.
These are some of the reasons that led the Security Council to apply sanctions against UNITA and to tighten further those sanctions. The reports from Angola on sanctions are that they are producing the desired results. They are limiting the possibilities of UNITA to procure weapons, thus making it difficult for the movement to rearm and resupply its forces. Sanctions have thus been an important instrument of pressure to force UNITA to commit itself to peace. The report by the Panel of Experts established by the Security Council pursuant to resolution 1237 (1999) and the enormous work of the sanctions Committee, under the very able chairmanship of Ambassador Fowler of Canada, exposed the weaknesses of the implementation of measures imposed against UNITA and named the alleged sanctions violators. These are important reminders that, as members of the international community, States should act responsibly and avoid actions that would facilitate the continuation of war in Angola. I am confident that the recent appointment of the sanction monitoring committee and its work will contribute further to promoting peace in Angola by tightening the mechanisms for verifying the implementation of measures against UNITA.
The situation of internally displaced persons is illustrative of the disastrous consequences of the war in Angola. At the end of June the number of internally displaced persons was estimated at 2.5 million, approximately 20 per cent of the total population in Angola. Of these, just over a million were officially registered by a United Nations agency or non-governmental organization. The situation in Khaala, which I visited during my last mission to Angola, a situation that I understand is replicated in other places in the country, is truly appalling and should be considered as an affront to all decent men and women everywhere.
While the primary responsibility for addressing the plight of internally displaced persons lies with the Government of Angola, and we are encouraged by the positive steps that the Government has been taking in this regard, the international community has a critical supporting role. In this regard, some of the work done by United Nations agencies and by some national and international non-governmental organizations in supporting internally displaced persons is truly encouraging. The recent bilateral agreement between the United States Government and the Government of Angola aimed at facilitating the resettlement and rehabilitation of communities in areas that were previously under UNITA control will certainly give a boost to some of the positive results achieved in this area.
However, the problem of Angolans in distress and in need as a direct consequence of the war is enormous. Therefore, the full support of the international community, as well as the increased participation of the private sector and of the civil society in the country, is required.
The civil society organizations in Angola have made important contributions to bring about peace and reconciliation in Angola. Recently they have taken a number of important initiatives in this regard. The march organized on 11 June 2000, which culminated in an open-air ecumenical service at which various political parties and civil society organizations participated marks an important milestone in the public pressure for peace. All Angolans were called upon to lay down their arms, abandon violence and live in harmony. It shows the commitment of civil society organizations to the promotion of peace. And they are doing this as a matter of urgency.
Furthermore, just a few days ago the Catholic Church organized in Luanda the Congress for Peace and Democracy. This event was attended by several members of Government, political parties and civil society organizations representing a good and broad cross-section of Angolan society. It marked one of the rare occasions on which the Government and opposition parties sat side by side with members of organizations representing different segments of Angolan society to discuss the common issue of peace. The event marked a moment of reflection in which Angolans reminded each other that the most important thing is what each one could do to bring peace to the country. The participants adopted a final communiqué in which, inter alia, they called for a ceasefire and the resumption of dialogue and the process of national reconciliation.
In Angola, the civil society organizations, particularly the Church, can also play a key role in promoting peace, reconciliation and reintegration, especially in areas formerly under the control of UNITA, where there are reports of serious human rights violations. They can also play an important role in the education of youths and children, thus complementing the actions of the Government in a society that has been too long torn by war.
On the economy, the Government of Angola has been making commendable efforts, despite the war, to improve its management and performance. As reported in the Secretary-General’s report in document S/2000/304, the Government has signed the Staff Monitored Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Government is committed to greater transparency, especially in governmental financial transactions. This commitment needs to be backed with concrete actions. Hence it is encouraging that the Government has also introduced some important reforms in the diamond production sector, while it continues to reform the petroleum industry. In March this year the Government released some of the funds earmarked in previous years for the development of small and medium enterprises in agriculture and agro-industry.
Unfortunately, however, the efforts to rehabilitate the economy tend to be offset by the continuation of hostilities. Seventy per cent of the Angolan people continue to live below the poverty line, because financial resources normally available for the social sector are being diverted in part to finance the war. This has resulted in a deterioration in the quality of services in education, health and sanitation.
With respect to democratization, the Government of Angola has announced its intention to hold national elections towards the end of the year 2001, as I mentioned in my last oral briefing to the Council. It is comforting to note that the country’s authorities are working on the various logistical, security and constitutional challenges to be met so that the elections can be credible, free and fair. During my last visit to Angola, I reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to work closely with the Government and to assist in meeting some of the challenges that I indicated earlier.
Meanwhile, I am delighted to inform the members of the Council that the head of the United Nations Office In Angola (UNOA) has been selected and that his appointment will be communicated to the Council very soon — perhaps as soon as tomorrow. He is expected shortly to resume his duties in Angola and this will help to strengthen the growing cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Angola. The mandate of UNOA, as defined by the Security Council resolution, is focused primarily on humanitarian issues and capacity-building in human rights. However, the new Head of UNOA and the entire United Nations system will continue to work closely with the Government, as requested, and other interested parties to seek ways to support the current efforts aimed at achieving peace in Angola in the context of the Lusaka Protocol.
Finally, I would like to state that it is my sincere hope that this open meeting will be an important turning point in the search for durable peace in Angola. The members of this Council, we in the Secretariat and the international community as a whole need to be even more creative and to redouble our efforts to help the people of Angola to find the peace which has eluded them for far too long. We can do no less.
Let me begin by congratulating you, Madam President, on behalf of my Government, on your assumption of the presidency of this Council and for organizing this open debate on the Angolan situation. We are convinced that your wisdom and diplomatic experience will bring us to a successful conclusion.
May I also take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation for the efforts undertaken by Secretary-General Kofi Annan aimed at the rapid restoration of a long and lasting peace in Angola.
My Government is committed to working very closely with Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, and encourages him to intensify his engagement in this regard. The Government of Angola continues to be grateful for the substantial political support lent by this organ and the humanitarian assistance provided by United Nations agencies actively engaged in our country.
The armed conflict in Angola has taken slightly different forms over the past years, but the suffering of our people has remained a constant. The 1994 Lusaka Protocol, which should have led Angola to peace, was never implemented in its totality. That is because Jonas Savimbi rejected several provisions crucial to its implementation, namely, the obligation to demilitarize his forces and to permit the establishment of state administration in areas that UNITA occupied illegally.
In 1998, Savimbi once again undertook armed force to achieve power, just as he had done in 1992 following his defeat in the country’s first national elections. This decision relit the flames of a war shorter in duration, but even greater in intensity as a result of the unprecedented rearming of UNITA forces that had taken place. It is a sad commentary that UNITA’s rearming took place with the open support of a number of countries and leaders, including Africans.
A very real military force was threatening the existence of institutions of elected power and the very future of our democracy. Regrettably, not all voices condemned Jonas Savimbi’s actions or took steps to pressure him to abandon his plans for war. The Angolan Government saw itself forced to adopt a series of political and military measures to contain UNITA. Happily, that objective was achieved. UNITA’s conventional war capacity was destroyed and today constitutes no immediate threat to the Government.
Thanks to the measures taken by the Government, Angola today enjoys a climate of relative tranquillity in a large portion of the country. That situation bodes well for an improvement in economic and social development. However, we are well aware that we have not put a definitive end to war. Small pockets of UNITA resistance still exist to carry out terrorist activities.
A question frequently asked is: “What is the most appropriate way to resolve the internal conflict once and for all?” There has been no single answer, either within our own society or outside it. An adequate reply to this question requires, first, an attentive and honest understanding of the evolution of the Angolan political process.
For more than 10 years, we have been seeking a peaceful solution to our internal conflict. However, each of the various formulas for peace, devised with the cooperation and assistance of the international community, was systematically violated and trampled by the same person every time. Jonas Savimbi called for negotiations only when he found himself militarily disadvantaged and for the sole purpose of buying time to reconstitute his army and prepare it for renewed attempts to seize power by force of arms. That is the way it has always been in the past, and today we are again witnessing a manifestation of alleged gestures of good will.
The facts themselves are clear. Savimbi has never been truly interested in any negotiating process. He has used these occasions only to trick the less cautious and to further his attempts to consummate his personal ambition to achieve power by force. His lack of credibility and continued betting on the option of war are incompatible with the objectives of strengthening a democratic society in Angola.
The lasting solution to Angola’s problem still lies in the complete implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. Measures that the Angolan authorities have adopted foresee the fulfilment of the Protocol’s provisions that were not implemented voluntarily. More than 92 per cent of Angolan territory is now under the control of the legal authorities. More than 11,000 rebel soldiers have thrown down their arms and hundreds of others continue to do so each month. They are being reintegrated into society.
We urge the international community to continue to apply pressure through the strict observance of United Nations sanctions against those who reject the Lusaka Protocol in order to persuade them to turn away from the option of war and to join the forces of peace, reconciliation and national reconstruction. We are confident and hopeful regarding the restoration of peace in the near future, the consolidation of the democratic system and the development of the country’s economic potential for the benefit of all Angolans. It is in this perspective that we plan to hold general elections in 2001 with the participation of all legal political entities.
The Security Council’s actions, strengthened by the report of the sanctions Committee chaired by Ambassador Fowler and by increased regional solidarity in southern and central Africa, have dramatically raised the cost of doing business for Jonas Savimbi, as well as the potential cost to those who may be identified as UNITA collaborators. The eventual success of these concerted efforts will improve the standards of living and contribute to economic growth in my country.
The Government of Angola applauds the establishment of the Panel of Experts that will help guarantee the effective application of relevant Security council resolutions within the logic of “smart sanctions”. In this context, we also want to praise from the outset the contribution to peace in Angola made by Ambassador Robert Fowler. We wish him every success in his next posting. He created conditions that will permit his successor to continue to play an important role in the work of the sanctions Committee.
The Angolan Government is encouraged by a number of positive developments whose origins can be traced to this Security Council. Additionally, events taking place in the international diamond industry, and specifically announcements by De Beers and the recently concluded World Diamond Congress in Antwerp, hold promise for increased self-regulation by an industry that has financially sustained destabilizing rebel elements and corrupt leaders in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
A week-long international peace conference, entitled “Pro Pace”, organized by the Catholic Church, has just concluded in Luanda. Participation by the Angolan Government included six ministers and two deputy ministers. A personal message from Pope John Paul was read to the 220 participants, including members of the clergy, civil society and the Government. We hope that these grass-roots efforts by the Church and by Angolan citizens may have a positive impact on the crisis in our country.
While the Angolan Government is forced to contend with disruptive activities by small UNITA bands, it must also engage a range of additional responsibilities. For example, it must sustain progress towards milestones established by the staff-monitored programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to be eligible to participate in a poverty reduction and growth facility in the year 2001. And, importantly, it must make every effort to meet the country’s daunting immediate humanitarian challenges.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated in its mid-term review for Angola the week of 17 July that the humanitarian situation in Angola is “precarious” and that United Nations agencies have received only 40 per cent of their funding requirements for this year. OCHA said that an estimated two million people continued to rely on food aid and that as many as 2.7 million people may need some kind of humanitarian assistance in the months ahead — a requirement for assistance funds totalling nearly $260 million.
As of June, the breakdown of United Nations agency receipts by per cent of requested funds for work in Angola is as follows: the World Food Programme, 44 per cent; OCHA, 43.8 per cent; the United Nations Children’s Fund, 27 per cent; the World Health Organization, 61 per cent; the Food and Agriculture Organization, 10.5 per cent; the United Nations Development Programme, 1.4 per cent; and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, 9.6 per cent.
At the end of June, there were an estimated 2.5 million internally displaced persons in Angola; this number represents approximately 20 per cent of the total population. More than 217,500 people have been displaced in 14 provinces since the beginning of this year alone.
Access and security remain key factors in providing assistance to needy populations. Guerrilla activities carried out by UNITA rebels limit access to most areas in the extreme south and east of the country, and safe travel on roads is not yet possible outside major cities and some coastal areas. At present, more than 70 per cent of all humanitarian assistance must be delivered by air because of restricted surface transportation. The result is high delivery costs for humanitarian assistance.
In May, the World Food Programme announced that it faced a possible breakdown in the food pipeline beginning in late September unless new contributions were received. It already has reduced by 20 per cent the number of people receiving direct food aid assistance for the months of June and July. Additionally, a nationwide campaign to distribute agricultural inputs is due to start in September and October as part of the Government’s efforts to promote agricultural self-sufficiency.
Meanwhile, health remains the most under-funded sector of the entire humanitarian programme. Hospitals and health posts are under-staffed and under-funded and lack basic equipment and medicine. Malaria, diarrhoea and tuberculosis remain prevalent throughout the country, and in many locations children have not been vaccinated against life-threatening diseases.
The Angolan Government is actively engaged in the support of humanitarian assistance and services. Through the national emergency assistance programme it has provided emergency assistance to more than 500,000 people since September 1999. In Phase I, $21 million have been spent to purchase goods for populations in areas where United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations have been unable to operate. Phase II of the programme will aim $13.7 million at agriculture self-sufficiency projects associated with a national resettlement plan.
The Government has subsidized $12 million worth of fuel for World Food Programme and International Committee of the Red Cross aircraft providing humanitarian assistance. The Government has covered $7.5 million in port and airport fees related to international donations, and it has participated in the preparation of the next United Nations consolidated appeal that will be presented to donors in August.
Before I conclude, I would also like to express the Government’s sincere thanks for the dedicated efforts of the more than 100 national and international non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies which remain actively engaged throughout the country, under the most challenging circumstances, in providing humanitarian relief to the suffering people of Angola. We appeal once again to the donor community to continue their partnership to sustain progress being made to improve the living conditions of all Angolans.
First of all, I would like to very warmly thank your delegation, Madam President, for having organized this meeting and to particularly thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari for another of his extremely insightful briefings on the political and humanitarian situation in Angola.
This meeting of the Security Council is probably the last at which I will be taking part in an affair in which I have been intimately involved in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on sanctions against Angola.
Before commenting on the remarks of Minister Albino Malungo, as well as on the briefing by Under-Secretary-General Gambari and the report of the Secretary-General of 12 July, I would like to take this opportunity to step back and try to put the situation in Angola into perspective.
When Canada became a member of the Security Council some 19 months ago, Angola was one of the priority items on the Council’s agenda. The political and security situation was so negative, and the United Nations’ reputation in the eyes of the Angolan Government was in such a miserable state that we were indeed getting ready to put an end to the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), which was the fourth United Nations force to be deployed in Angola. UNITA, which was at the very heart of a major counter-attack, had such a strong position that they openly defied the United Nations; indeed, they had the audacity to shoot down two United Nations planes, killing 23 people. Militarily, UNITA was planning attacks at less than 50 kilometres distance from Luanda. The peace prospects based on the Lusaka Protocol, a peace in which the United Nations Member States had invested so much, were quite dim.
Despite numerous and onerous United Nations missions and years of Security Council-imposed sanctions against UNITA, the international community had not succeeded in making any contribution to the restoration of peace in Angola. UNITA exercised — and, to a lesser extent, still exercises — control over vast areas of the country, where they exploited diamonds, the sale of which provided them with abundant military supplies. Jonas Savimbi had made systematic use of the hard-won periods of peace between the Bicesse Agreements in 1991, the internationally recognized elections in 1992 and the Lusaka Protocol of 1994 in order to re-arm UNITA and to pursue his own military objectives, in violation of the very commitments into which he himself had entered.
Nonetheless, we jointly decided not to act upon this blatant non-compliance with the wishes of the Security Council. We also jointly acquiesced in letting the Angolan population suffer the consequences of the endless civil war. More specifically, for what must have seemed an eternity to the Angolan people, we made very little effort to ensure the effective implementation of the sanctions that the Council had imposed against UNITA.
It was in such dire circumstances, in which the Angolan people and many in the international community were questioning the utility of maintaining the immense effort expended since 1975 in the Security Council’s endeavours to bring durable peace to Angola, that the Council took the decision to go back to basics. In order to stop the cycle of conflict, the key link in that cycle had to be broken. I am, of course, referring to the diamonds-for-arms link which had allowed UNITA to maintain its war effort with utter impunity.
Early in 1999, the Security Council took the unprecedented step of creating an independent Panel of Experts to collect specific information on compliance — and non-compliance — with the provisions of the sanctions regime that we had progressively put in place over six years. Due in large part to the outstanding work of the Panel of Experts and to the Council’s firm and clear-eyed subsequent steps, especially the adoption of resolution 1295 (2000), this body can now say that, for the first time, sanctions against UNITA are having real impact, as I think the minister just indicated, and, perhaps as important, are being taken very seriously both inside and outside of Angola. The well established culture of impunity is thus at an end. Yet sanctions cannot become fully effective overnight, and UNITA still has access both to diamonds and to people who will sell arms in exchange for diamonds. Thus, hostilities continue.
There is a very direct link between UNITA’s belligerence and non-adherence to its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and the grave humanitarian situation in Angola. The Council, once again, must demand that UNITA and Jonas Savimbi honour the terms of Lusaka. We thus completely concur with the Secretary-General, and with the oft-repeated declarations of this Council, that the primary responsibility for the appalling humanitarian situation in Angola lies squarely with UNITA.
Given UNITA’s utter refusal to abide by its commitments, the Government of Angola has had no option but to seek to defeat Savimbi militarily. We understand the Government’s rationale, even while we regret that the enormous resources required to maintain such a campaign are not being devoted the pressing need to improve Angola’s infrastructure to help alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in that country.
Turning to the here and now, Canada especially welcomes the designation of a head for the United Nations Office in Angola. This has taken a long time. It is a much overdue first step required to strengthen the leadership role of the United Nations and to re-establish the Organization’s credibility in the eyes of the Government of Angola.
We remain acutely concerned by the dire humanitarian situation in Angola, with nearly 2.6 million internally displaced persons and 3.7 million war-affected persons. We are especially concerned by the Secretary-General’s information, set out in paragraph 25 of his report and just echoed by Mr. Malungo, about an impending food pipeline breakdown anticipated to occur late next month or in early September because of a lack of timely and significant contributions to the World Food Programme. In this context, we wish to call on the donor community to give serious and urgent attention to this issue.
The tenuous security situation prevailing throughout much of the central highlands and the border areas has compounded the plight of Angola’s civilian population and has rendered the cost of humanitarian assistance — which must almost entirely be flown in — all but prohibitive. We would again strongly urge the Government of Angola to do everything in its power to enable ground access to urban centres in those areas, and we call on both the Government and UNITA to respect fully the safety and integrity of humanitarian convoys and workers. We must note, however, that, while the Government of Angola has not always provided the support to the humanitarian effort that we have deemed appropriate, UNITA’s cooperation has been all but non-existent; UNITA has been offering only violence and death to those who wish only to bring succour to Angolans in all parts of the country.
Canada wishes to welcome the efforts of the new United Nations Development Programme resident coordinator to improve overall coordination of humanitarian assistance activities and to adopt an integrated approach to assisting internally displaced Angolans. We note that an action plan has been developed by the Government of Angola with the United Nations and with non-governmental organizations as a follow-up to the rapid needs assessment undertaken in April, and we urge the Government to give implementation of the plan its full and urgent attention. Canada would also like to underline the importance of improving the system for the registration of newly displaced persons as a key protection tool, and welcomes the development of draft minimum standards for resettlement.
Regarding human rights in Angola, we remain troubled by the current situation, and we urge the provision of additional resources to the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Office in Angola to allow it to expand its presence and operations. The Human Rights Division has done some outstanding work in promoting and protecting human rights in Angola under very difficult circumstances. We invite the Government of Angola to do everything in its power to facilitate investigations done on the ground by its staff, including with respect to the need for prior notification to travel outside Luanda. In this regard, we welcome the Angolan Government’s efforts to develop regular procedures for redressing human rights abuses with the support of the international community and, again, regret the fact that no such procedures exist with respect to the pervasive human rights abuses we have every reason to believe, but cannot know, are occurring within the territory still controlled by UNITA.
Canada wishes particularly to reiterate its concern at serious and well documented allegations of extra-judicial killings in the border areas with Namibia and with Zambia, and in some newly taken areas in the interior. We strongly urge the Government of Angola to undertake an official investigation into those allegations and to punish the guilty parties should such abuses be substantiated. It is only in this way that the effective extension of State sovereignty into areas formerly occupied by UNITA can be accomplished in a climate of trust and reconciliation. We are encouraged in this regard by recent events organized by civil society and church organizations in Angola to publicize the need for peace, dialogue and reconciliation.
The last 19 months in Angola have known some very dark days, often suggesting the bleakest of futures for a lasting peace in Angola. Regrettably, for much of the population of Angola, those adjectives cannot yet be dropped from our vocabulary, and this in one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. Fortunately, however, there is now more than a glimmer of hope on the political and security front, a glimmer that we in this Council must not squander.
I hope that the Security Council has learned the hard lessons of our Angolan experience over the past seven years, and that the Council will apply them without its usual trepidation, in Angola and in the many other circumstances in which they now apply and will apply in the future. There is no point — no advantage to anybody — in enacting measures within the Council which the Council does not collectively intend to enforce. Politically expedient measures which are certain to remain dead letters are deeply destabilizing to fragile geopolitical situations and are only likely to exacerbate the damage being done to people, and of course to the reputation of this Organization.
Let us agree not to adopt measures that we do not intend to enforce with vigour and tenacity. Let us also agree that any measures ought to be enforceable, for even with the best will in the world the Council cannot demand compliance with measures that are insufficiently clear or precise, or are simply unenforceable. To do otherwise would be dishonest, destabilizing and destructive.
Keeping in mind the future and the well-being of civilians, Canada, and I personally, will remain committed to ensuring that a political solution becomes a viable option for the parties to this terrible and wasteful conflict in Angola.
Ambassador Fowler will shortly be leaving New York to take up another diplomatic assignment. I wish, on behalf of the Council, to thank him for the dynamic approach he brought to the position of Chairman of the Committee dealing with sanctions against UNITA. That sanctions against UNITA are finally bearing fruit is largely due to the efforts of Ambassador Fowler and his Committee, which clearly demonstrated the linkage between the illegal exploitation of diamonds and the ability of UNITA to fund its activities. We wish Ambassador Fowler well in his future endeavours.
Today I am speaking on behalf of the troika of observer States to the Lusaka Protocol: Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States.
President José Eduardo dos Santos recently delivered a major speech in Caxito, Bengo Province, that should be brought to the attention of the Council. In that address, President dos Santos said that the Lusaka Protocol remains valid, and he once again held out an olive branch to UNITA, saying, in effect, that Angola’s tragic descent into chaos could be reversed if all agreed to carry out the fundamental tasks that this Council has stressed since 1994. These include the full extension of State administration and the comprehensive demilitarization and disarmament of UNITA and its full transformation into a political party.
The troika has never wavered in its commitment to the Lusaka Protocol, which, along with its predecessor, the Bicesse Accords, continues to offer the best framework for the restoration of peace and national reconciliation. We remind all concerned that the Lusaka Protocol remains our collective fundamental expectation. It is also important to safeguard the gains of the last five years, including the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the multi-party National Assembly and the integrated armed forces.
The Council’s present level of engagement is through the United Nations Office in Angola, and we are pleased by the work done by Under-Secretary-General Gambari. We urge him to continue and intensify his productive engagement in this issue.
For the past five years both the troika and this Council have expressed the view that the responsibility for the breakdown of the Lusaka Protocol rests primarily with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. We have taken a number of steps that reflect this belief, including the passage of three sets of sanctions. The troika believes that these sanctions should be fully and unconditionally implemented. At this point the troika once again expresses its support for the work of the sanctions Committee, chaired by Ambassador Fowler, whom we sincerely thank, and that of the Panel of Experts, as a major contribution to achieving the wider goal of bringing peace to Angola. We look forward to the continued efforts of the follow-on mechanism authorized during the Canadian presidency to sustain the momentum towards addressing the deadly link between illegally mined diamonds and conflicts in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Although the Council has assigned responsibility for the ongoing tragedy in Angola, it has never wavered in its belief that there is no viable military solution to the present crisis. We urge the Government of Angola to ensure that all those who wish to lay down their arms will be welcomed. We also urge the Government to ensure that all those who genuinely wish to participate in the democratic political life of the country are able to do so with full confidence in the protection of their constitution.
The troika encourages a dialogue between all sectors of Angolan society towards finding the means of bringing a just and lasting peace to Angola — searching for a means to end that country’s cycle of violence. In this context, the troika welcomes the recent convening of the Congress for Peace and Democracy, attended by Government officials, political party representatives, civil society activists and religious leaders. The Congress’s message of democracy, tolerance, non-violence, human rights, dialogue and reconciliation should be taken up enthusiastically by Angolans, and deserves the support of the international community.
A dialogue such as the one called for by the Congress for Peace and Democracy can succeed only if all concerned adhere to the principles of the Lusaka Protocol. The participation of Mr. Savimbi in such a dialogue can be considered only once Mr. Savimbi takes irreversible steps to implement fully the Lusaka Protocol. Mr. Savimbi’s obligations to the people of Angola and the international community remain unchanged and non-negotiable. The troika issues an appeal to all armed UNITA elements to lay down their arms and participate in the civil life of the country. We note that what military force has always failed to achieve in Angola’s tragic history can nonetheless be obtained through the provision of schools, clinics, economic opportunities and the democratic process.
Members of the troika call on the international donor community to expand its humanitarian assistance to the Angolan population and to intensify cooperation with the Government of Angola to overcome the consequences of the long-lasting conflict, with particular attention to the socio-economic rehabilitation of areas previously under UNITA control. The need for humanitarian assistance to Angola does not detract from the Government’s responsibilities in this area.
Your country, Madam President, has skilfully used its time in the presidency to focus attention on the humanitarian dimension of the crises we face in this Council, and it is the profound suffering of the Angolan people that must continue to direct our actions. The level of that suffering has been frequently described to this Council, but we must never become indifferent to its devastating impact. For this reason, the fact that the Government of Angola has sent Minister Malungo to represent it at this meeting today is an important signal. We thank him for being here.
Minister Malungo has been an effective advocate of the international relief community, in good times as well as in times of crisis. He has helped us with difficult questions of humanitarian access, security of United Nations and associated personnel and the myriad challenges of conducting relief operations in his country. There remain numerous obstacles to effective relief operations, but we are satisfied that he and his Government will continue to engage us in good faith in resolving all problems.
Members of the troika call for continued investigation into the downing of United Nations aircraft over central Angola. We are also reminded of the necessity to urge continued efforts to determine the fate of the crews and passengers of Russian and Ukrainian commercial aeroplanes downed under suspicious circumstances over territory then controlled by UNITA, as well as the fate of other foreign nationals missing in Angola. Finally, we remember the tragic loss that continues to haunt the Council: the crash of the plane carrying the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Alioune Blondin Beye, and his companions. Although, unfortunately, we allowed the second anniversary of his death to pass without comment, we cherish the memory of Maître Beye and view a just and lasting peace in Angola as his best possible memorial.
The representative of France will shortly be making a statement on behalf of the European Union, which my delegation naturally endorses, and I would thus just like to confine myself to two or three very brief points.
First, Madam President, I would like, through you, to thank Professor Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, for his very useful introduction to our debate today.
My delegation is concerned at the continuing appalling human rights situation in Angola and particularly the humanitarian crisis which is resulting from the conflict. We welcome the latest initiative by civil society of a peace conference, which was held in Angola from 18 to 21 July. As Professor Gambari said in his introduction, military force is not the way forward. Reconciliation and peaceful dialogue is the only way ahead for Angola.
My delegation also welcomes the imminent appointment of the new head of the United Nations Office in Angola. We hope that the Office will now be able to recruit the necessary staff to move quickly towards full strength and to fulfil its mandate.
Finally, I would like to conclude with a somewhat cryptic remark, and I hope that the members of the Council will understand why I cannot be more specific.
The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the British Government, Mr. Peter Hain, will be making an important statement to the British House of Commons today on UNITA’s continuing sale of diamonds and on breaches of the arms embargo. My delegation will ensure that a copy of the Hansard record of this statement is circulated as soon as possible to all members of the sanctions Committee.
Madam President, I should like to express our deep appreciation to you for convening this public meeting to consider the question of Angola. I should also like to thank Professor Gambari for his excellent report on the situation in Angola, and to welcome Mr. Albino Malungo.
Although a certain degree of stability has been noted in several regions of the country where the authority of the State has been restored, the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation prevailing in Angola continues to be a major source of concern.
As the Secretary-General indicates in his report, the absence of dialogue has continued to create an unstable political and military situation in Angola. While continuing to refuse to disarm its troops and to respect its commitments to the Lusaka Protocol, Mr. Savimbi’s UNITA is continuing with its destabilizing activities, thereby causing an increase in the total number of refugees and displaced persons and heightening tensions with Namibia and Zambia.
In this connection, we welcome the fact that an agreement has been reached between Angola and Zambia to establish a Joint Verification Team to investigate charges of border violations, which should help to reduce tensions between the two countries.
The Angolan people have suffered greatly from this war, which has been going on for far too long. New initiatives by opposition parties, religious leaders and various representatives of civil society to bring about peace and national reconciliation in Angola are a reflection of the desire of Angolan society to put an end to the conflict, which has taken hostage not only the civilian population but also the entire future of the country and the subregion.
We welcome these initiatives as well as the efforts that have been made to promote a negotiated peace. We are gratified also at the renewed commitment of President dos Santos with respect to the Lusaka Protocol, which we believe continues to be the foundation of a political solution in Angola. We also welcome his readiness to forgive UNITA rebels who renounce war.
The report of the Secretary-General confirms the importance of a United Nations presence in Angola and the usefulness of the work done by the United Nations Office in Angola. The presence of the United Nations is likely to contribute significantly to promoting peace and to bringing about national reconciliation as well as respect for human rights and security in the region.
In this connection, we would like to welcome the fact that the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Office in Angola has intensified its efforts, in close cooperation with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to support programmes that approach human rights as an essential component of a lasting peace.
We also consider that the devising of a creative plan for the respect of basic rights, particularly as regards the setting up of an effective justice system, is of crucial importance at a time when the State is extending its administration to regions that have recently been taken back from UNITA.
The situation of children in general, and in particular that of child soldiers, is one of the most tragic aspects of the Angolan conflict. We would like to echo the appeal of the Secretary-General requesting the international community to take a coordinated and sustained approach throughout Angola in order to increase the level of protection for war-affected children. Particular attention should also be given to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers as well as to the special needs of the large number of children who are victims of mine injuries.
The Secretary-General in his report has emphasized the precarious nature of the humanitarian situation due to the increased number of people requiring food assistance. The climate of insecurity that prevails among various regions owing to the guerrilla activities of UNITA has considerably reduced the volume of that assistance as well as the access of humanitarian organizations to the affected populations.
We are likewise concerned by the number of displaced persons, which is estimated at 2.5 million, approximately 20 per cent of the total population of Angola. This situation requires that the international community take the necessary action to help the Angolan authorities in their efforts to resettle displaced persons in secure areas.
Despite its natural and human resources, Angola today has been reduced to poverty and destitution. According to the report of the Secretary-General, poverty has become endemic, with some 78 per cent of the rural population and 40 per cent of urban dwellers living below the poverty line. We hope that the return to stability in those areas now under the control of the Government will allow for a tangible amelioration of the economic and social situation and for an improved standard of living for the population.
It is important also that the takeover by the Government of the regions formerly occupied by UNITA should be accompanied by increased assistance by the international community. In this connection, we would like to express the hope that, as stated by the Secretary-General in his report, the donor community will respond as generously as possible to the 2000 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola.
My delegation finally would like to welcome the release of the five Russian crewmen who had been taken hostage in May 1999.
In conclusion, it is our hope that the Council will continue to follow closely the situation in Angola in order to speed up the advent of stability, security and economic recovery. In this connection, we would like to reiterate our appreciation and support for the work of the sanctions Committee, under the leadership of Ambassador Robert Fowler, who, through his outstanding professionalism and the actions he has undertaken, has made it possible to bring about a process aimed at cutting off the supply lines and distribution mechanisms of UNITA diamonds.
It is thanks to the Committee’s able work that we now have effective sanctions that are reducing UNITA’s capacity to obtain weapons to continue the war.
I should like to begin by welcoming the presence of the Angolan Minister among us today. I should like also to associate myself with the previous speakers who have thanked the Secretary-General for his report dated 12 July 2000 and Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa Ibrahim Gambari for his supplementary statement.
The convening of this new open debate on the situation in Angola is, in my delegation’s opinion, a welcome initiative, for which I thank the delegation of Jamaica, and particularly you, Madam President.
Today’s debate gives us an opportunity to note the great concern of the international community over the enduring conflict in Angola; the war in Angola has lasted too long. The debate also allows us to emphasize again that only a political solution can contribute to the restoration of lasting peace and security in Angola and the region, and that the United Nations has an essential part to play in this regard.
As pointed out in the Secretary-General’s report, the ongoing conflict in Angola is a source of grave concern for the international community, for at least two reasons. The first is the dangerous humanitarian situation resulting from it. This situation is described poignantly in the Secretary-General’s report. I recall it only to emphasize the need, on the one hand, to find lasting solutions to the problems of displaced persons, estimated at 2.5 million or 20 per cent of Angola’s total population, and, on the other, to define policies to improve the living conditions of populations touched by the war.
In this connection, we welcome the improvement in the access of humanitarian organizations to populations at risk and the development by representatives of Governments, United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations of a plan of action with concrete measures concerning food security, health and nutrition, resettlement and demining, water supply and sewerage, security and education, particularly of women and children. In this context, we encourage the action taken by the United Nations Development Programme to help Angola achieve the fundamental objective of sustainable human development. We also urge the international community to respond generously to the United Nations inter-agency appeal for Angola for 2000.
The prolongation of the conflict in Angola and the risk of its spillover into the neighbouring countries is the other reason for the international community’s concern. In this regard, we deplore the attacks against Namibia and the deterioration of security along the border with Zambia.
Faced with this situation, Mali believes that only a political solution can contribute to the restoration of lasting peace and security in Angola. In that context, we welcome the fact that the Angolan authorities continue to regard the Lusaka Protocol as a legitimate basis for the peace process. We urge UNITA to show, in a convincing manner, its willingness to fulfil the obligations imposed on it by the Protocol and to work towards genuine national reconciliation.
We also consider that the Security Council must support and encourage efforts to promote dialogue between all the parties, dialogue which will lead to the lasting peace and national reconciliation that the Angolan people wholeheartedly call for after so many years of suffering. I wish to mention in particular the initiatives of civil society and the Angolan Church, which show the constructive commitment of these two energetic forces within the process of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Angola.
Mali considers it to be of the greatest importance that the international community lend its full support to the democratization process and encourage respect for human rights in Angola, which are the cornerstones of normalization of the country’s daily life, and pursuit of an effective process of national reconciliation.
Mali also considers it essential to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures imposed by the Security Council against UNITA aimed at promoting a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Angola, particularly by reducing UNITA’s capacity to pursue its goals militarily.
Finally, Mali attaches great importance to the United Nations presence in Angola. This presence can greatly contribute to promoting peace, national reconciliation, respect for human rights and security in the region. We therefore welcome the appointment of the head of the United Nations Office in Angola and we assure Ambassador Gambari of our complete support.
In concluding, I wish to reaffirm the commitment and solidarity of the people and Government of Mali with the people and Government of Angola in order to ensure that the peace process is worthy of Maître Alioune Blondin Beye, my master, friend and compatriot, who gave his life for the restoration of peace in Angola.
The Russian Federation, as a member of the troika of States observers of the implementation of the peace process in Angola, fully concurs with the statement made by the representative of the United States on its behalf, relating primarily to the need for implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, for support for national dialogue and reconciliation and for ensuring a democratic political process and protection of human rights.
The troika is unanimous in holding Savimbi responsible for the continuation of the conflict in Angola. Russia fully shares the view that by his actions the leader of UNITA has excluded himself from the political process, and that as long as he fails to take irreversible steps to implement the Lusaka Protocol he cannot hope to participate in the dialogue.
Like other members of the troika, Russia believes that the consistent implementation and enhancement of the effectiveness of the sanctions regime against UNITA is an important element of international efforts to end the conflict in Angola, and it supports the work of the Security Council Committee on sanctions against UNITA, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Fowler. Together with our partners in the troika, we would appeal to the international donor community to expand its support to Angola to overcome the aftermath of this long-lasting conflict and to bring about a life of peace, particularly in those territories which until quite recently were under UNITA’s control.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you, Madam President, for convening this meeting on the situation in Angola. I would also like to recognize the presence of His Excellency Mr. Malungo, Minister for Social Assistance of the Republic of Angola, and thank him for a very important and informative statement. His presence at our meeting today is clear testimony to the commitment of the Government of Angola to peace for the people of Angola and the region.
We thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his comprehensive report, which is before us today, and we commend him for his commitment to the cause of peace in Africa and in particular to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Angola. In the same vein, let me also thank the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari, for introducing the report and for updating the Council on the latest developments regarding the situation in that country.
The report of the Secretary-General states that the absence of dialogue has continued to create an unstable political and military situation in the country, despite the efforts of the Government to consolidate its authority throughout the country. Therefore, the Angolan people, the Government, the churches and the civil society are engaged in debating this issue, with a view to bringing durable and lasting peace to Angola.
The report also draws our attention to the real problem that impedes the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Angola. This problem is UNITA and Mr. Savimbi, who bears the primary responsibility for the return to war in that country. UNITA has refused to comply with the basic provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, which demanded that it demilitarize its forces and allow the extension of State administration throughout the territory. My delegation welcomes the Government’s reaffirmation of the validity of the Lusaka Protocol and supports the Government’s position that it will negotiate with all political forces that are ready to abandon violence as a way of gaining power. In this regard, the international community, and in particular the Security Council, must send a clear and unambiguous message to UNITA and to Mr. Savimbi to stop the carnage and carry out its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol. We all are very aware of UNITA’s intransigence, and we should therefore ensure that UNITA complies with the demands of the Security Council and of the rest of the international community.
The question of the violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA, which has perpetuated the agony and suffering of the people of Angola, is of great concern to my delegation and, I believe, to all delegations in this Chamber. The report of the Panel of Experts on the violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA is an unprecedented development in the history of the United Nations. It is the first of its kind to inform the Council and the international community as a whole about the magnitude of the violations of sanctions against UNITA and what could be done to make them effective.
However, the Panel could not complete its investigations due to the limited time it had at its disposal. It is against this background that the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish a follow-up mechanism to carry out further investigations into the allegations of violations of sanctions by UNITA. We thank the Secretary-General for appointing a five-member team to serve on this mechanism, and it is our hope that the long-awaited team will begin its work as soon as possible, to enable the Council to take appropriate decisions.
In this respect, we welcome the bold measures that, at their meeting held this month in Antwerp, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufactures Association adopted with regard to illegally acquired diamonds from conflict zones — in particular from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone. These measures, if implemented fully, will indeed be a big step in the right direction — that is, towards limiting or significantly reducing the capacity of rebel movements in Africa to wage wars against legitimate Governments. I cannot conclude this point without once again paying special tribute to the Chairman of the sanctions Committee, Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, for his courage, determination and commitment to help bring peace to Angola and Africa. I endorse fully what you, Madam President, said about Ambassador Fowler on behalf of the Security Council.
With regard to the humanitarian situation, my delegation is encouraged by the efforts of the Government of Angola to put in place national structures, logistics and funds with a view to addressing the plight of the war-affected populations and internally displaced persons. Of great concern to my delegation is the large number of landmines and unexploded ordnance. Estimates of the quantity range between 6 million and 7 million, and 79 different types of devices have been found in the country. We commend the work of the humanitarian agencies in assisting the people of Angola to cope with these calamities and urge the international community to provide funds bilaterally, or through the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola, to assist the Government and the people of Angola — a people who since independence has not enjoyed peace.
The effect of the war on the economy of Angola is enormous. The international community should support the efforts of the Government to achieve economic recovery, so as to meet the needs of all its people. We welcome the agreement reached between the Government and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and it is our hope that the programmes that are to be worked out will assist in the national economic and social development of the country. Similarly, we welcome the activities of the United Nations Development Programme in the area of poverty eradication and in dealing with the impact of HIV/AIDS.
Allow me to welcome the long-awaited appointment of the head of the United Nations Office in Angola. It is our hope that this appointment will help the Angolan people in their efforts to achieve peace, development and prosperity. We would also like to take this opportunity to commend the cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Angola in their efforts to investigate the downing of the two United Nations aircraft in Angola on 26 December 1998 and 2 January 1999 in areas then controlled by UNITA. We would also appreciate from time to time being updated on the ongoing investigations into the airplane crash that killed the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye.
The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his report to the Council on Angola. We also thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari for his briefing.
We welcome the Minister for Social Assistance of Angola, Mr. Malungo, and thank him for his statement.
We also extend our appreciation to you, Madam President, for convening this open meeting.
The situation in Angola has been relatively stable of late. The Government and society of that country have pursued their efforts to achieve peace and stability. At the same time, the Government has also done a great deal of fruitful work on economic development, the protection of human rights and humanitarian assistance. Years of civil war have inflicted serious wounds on Angola and the country still has a long way to go in its efforts to achieve peace and development. According to the Secretary-General’s report, 20 per cent of Angola’s total population are now internally displaced persons. This shocking figure demonstrates that Angola still needs the international community’s attention and help. We hope that all countries will respond in a timely and positive manner to the 2000 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola.
As all know, UNITA is primarily responsible for the situation in Angola. It deserves the international community’s condemnation and sanctions. Through the tireless efforts of Ambassador Fowler, the Chairman of the Angola sanctions Committee, the United Nations sanctions against UNITA have been tightened and improved. We wish to express our appreciation for that. We especially appreciate Ambassador Fowler’s efforts in this regard.
We note with satisfaction that, following the establishment of the Panel of Experts, the Security Council has created monitoring mechanisms to further tighten the sanctions against UNITA. My delegation supports the work of the monitoring mechanism and hopes that it will adhere to its mandate under the relevant Security Council resolution and submit its report to the Council as scheduled. At the same time, we strongly appeal to all parties to comply with the Security Council’s resolution and to cease providing UNITA with weapons and any other form of support.
We have emphasized often and in various forums that sanctions against UNITA are not an end in themselves, but a means to create the necessary conditions for a definitive political settlement of the question of Angola. We hope that the international community will make concerted efforts, coordinate its action and, by tightening sanctions, compel UNITA to lay down its arms, cease all hostilities and embark on the path to national reconciliation as soon as possible.
The Chinese delegation has always supported the positive role of the United Nations in the Angolan peace process. We support the work of Under-Secretary-General Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa. We appreciate his visit to Angola in May. We have also learned with satisfaction that the Secretary-General has appointed a Head of the United Nations Office In Angola (UNOA) and hope that this appointment will facilitate the Office’s work.
My delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his succinct yet comprehensive report on the situation in Angola. We would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, for introducing the report and for his additional remarks.
We also wish to welcome the presence at this meeting of Mr. Albino Malungo, Minister for Social Assistance of the Republic of Angola, and to thank him for his statement.
My delegation is dismayed at the continuing fighting in Angola and the prolongation of the devastating 24-year-old civil war there, without prospects for an early resolution of the conflict. We continue to believe that, in spite of the recent successful military campaign against UNITA, there can be no military solution to the conflict. Unfortunately, the war persists because UNITA has made it hard for the Government to believe that it is a trustworthy negotiating partner. Yet, a lasting solution is most unlikely to be achieved without the participation of UNITA in the peace process. It is imperative, therefore, that there should be renewed efforts in the search for a political settlement.
The Council has repeatedly pronounced that UNITA bears the primary responsibility for the continuation of civil war in Angola, which has left more than 1 million dead, many more maimed and a quarter of the entire population displaced. UNITA’s ability to continue its military campaign is due to its lucrative illegal diamond trade. It was for the purpose of removing UNITA’s means to wage war that the Angola sanctions Committee was established under the energetic leadership of Ambassador Fowler of Canada. It is imperative that the sanctions Committee continue with its work with undiminished vigour, even with the imminent departure of its current dynamic Chairman, if the Council is to succeed in degrading UNITA’s capacity to pursue its objectives through military means. As one of the Vice-Chairmen of that Committee, Malaysia wishes to take this opportunity to pay the highest tribute to Chairman Fowler, to whom the Council owes a deep debt of gratitude for his leadership of the Committee and his enormous contributions to its work.
We are deeply concerned at the precarious humanitarian situation in Angola. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated in its mid-term review for Angola that an estimated 2 million people continue to rely on food aid and that as many as 2.75 million may need some kind of humanitarian assistance in the months ahead. Hospitals in the main towns are devoid of equipment and medicine. The health of children in particular has been hurt by the lack of food and health services. The situation was made worse by an outbreak of polio last year, which affected more than 1,000 children. Infant mortality rates in Angola are among the highest in the world. It is estimated that close to 1.5 million children live in a state of absolute poverty and that more than 100,000 have lost touch with their parents.
Meanwhile, little information is available on the condition of the population outside of Government-controlled areas. Clearly, the situation remains desperate. With an estimated 1.4 million landmines per person in the whole country and some 86,000 disabled landmine victims, the situation makes it impossible for the internally displaced persons to return to their homes and to till their fields. The most affected are those who fled their homes and farms to seek refuge and sustenance in urban areas. Almost as seriously affected are those who abandoned their homes during earlier conflicts, as well as the original residents of the urban areas. These shifts have changed the demography of the country from one that was predominantly rural-based to one in which around 60 per cent of the population now lives in overcrowded urban centres. As a result, there has been increasing physical and psychological pressures on these urban dwellers, who must scramble for the same meagre resources, much of which come from an equally overstretched international assistance community.
My delegation reiterates its concern at the lack of access by international humanitarian workers to populations that are at risk, especially in guerrilla-controlled areas, due to rebel activities in several provinces. The location and timing of guerrilla attacks, which often include looting, physical assaults and destruction of crops and homes, are unpredictable. In fact, almost all areas along the eastern and southern borders remain out of bounds to humanitarian agencies. With very limited road access, there is increased reliance on air transportation which, in turn, increases the delivery costs for humanitarian assistance.
Nevertheless, we are gratified to note that the extension of State administration in several provinces has given aid agencies access to thousands of people in need of help who were previously beyond reach.
We are also concerned at the plight of children caught in the conflict, many of whom are directly involved as combatants and many others who have been traumatized in other ways, such as through displacement, death of family members and separation from their families, and physical injuries.
My delegation is particularly alarmed at the disclosure made in May by the World Food Programme (WFP) that it might face a possible breakdown in the food pipeline from the end of September, unless new contributions were received. We note that, in an effort to minimize hardship during the lean months of September and October, WFP has reduced by 20 per cent the number of people receiving direct food aid during June and July. On the other hand, we would like to commend OCHA, in partnership with the Government of Angola, for its nationwide campaign to distribute agricultural inputs, due to start in September and October as part of the Government’s efforts to promote agricultural self-sufficiency.
The problem of refugees and internally displaced persons, numbering several million as a result of the conflict in Angola, remains intractable. Even more disturbing is the fact that almost four million Angolans are affected by the war. We must, therefore, heed the recent appeal made by the High Commissioner for Refugees for generous international assistance and respond favourably to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola. We should also take into account what was said by the High Commissioner, Mrs. Sadako Ogata, regarding the difficulty in raising cash to aid displaced people within their own countries, compared to other refugee groups.
Mrs. Ogata’s appeal for $8.4 million to assist some 300,000 people who have been forced to flee their homes in three provinces in Angola, where 1.5 million people have been displaced since 1998, deserves our fullest support. We therefore commend the United States and others for the pledges they recently made. Making a real difference for internally displaced persons will require a very substantial and sustained commitment of resources.
In conclusion, we wish to underscore the need to address Africa’s conflicts in a comprehensive manner, given the linkages among many of the crises on that continent. We cannot fail to see the negative spillover effects of the civil war in Angola to the neighbouring countries, including, very recently, to Namibia, resulting in civilian loss of life. Most of these deaths have been blamed on UNITA.
We have a number of speakers remaining on my list. In view of the lateness of the hour, and with the concurrence of the members of the Council, I intend to suspend the meeting now.