Security Council meeting 4671

Date17 December 2002
S-PV-4671 2002-12-17 15:30 17 December 2002 [[17 December]] [[2002]] /

The situation in Angola Interim report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Angola (S/2002/1353).

The meeting was called to order at 3.45 p.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

The situation in Angola

Interim report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Angola (S/2002/1353)
The President

I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Angola in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of 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.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. Gaspar Martins (Angola), took a seat at the Council table.
The President

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Angola and head of the United Nations Mission in Angola.

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 interim report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Angola (S/2002/1353).

At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Angola and head of the United Nations Mission in Angola.

I call on Mr. Gambari.

Mr. Gambari (Special Representative of the Secretary-General)

I have the honour to present, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the interim report on Angola. As the Council will recall, by its resolution 1433 (2002) of 15 August 2002, the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide an interim review of the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA), which was established as a follow-on mission to the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) to perform the tasks recommended in the Secretary-General’s report of 26 July 2002 (S/2002/834), as reflected in paragraph 3 of resolution 1433 (2002).

The report, which the Council now has before it, summarizes the key developments in Angola since August. It highlights UNMA’s activities in the political, military, human rights, child protection, humanitarian and development fields, and identifies the areas where additional efforts are required in order to consolidate peace in Angola.

I am pleased to report that, in the four months since the beginning of this Mission, UNMA has successfully initiated activities in nearly all the areas mandated to it, including the conclusion of the work of the Joint Commission, participation as an observer in the Military Commission and new activities to promote human rights in Angola.

The Government of Angola has also confirmed to me the importance it attaches to human rights issues, especially in the area of capacity-building. With the concurrence of the Government, UNMA’s human rights division is expanding its field presence in the provinces.

The Mission’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) component is also in place. Its leader has chaired the sub-group on demobilization and reintegration, which was established by, and provided recommendations to, the Joint Commission on the social reintegration of ex-combatants. We envisage a continuing role for the technical sub-group in close consultation with the Government, even after the formal dissolution of the Joint Commission itself.

UNMA is also coordinating, through the relevant United Nations agencies, aspects of humanitarian assistance, including resource mobilization and the provision of essential life-saving assistance such as foods and medicines.

After my arrival in Luanda on 14 September to assume my new functions as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Angola, head of UNMA and Chairman of the Joint Commission, the following four priorities were established.

The first was to re-establish the Joint Commission, in accordance with the Memorandum of Commitment signed by the parties on 26 August in the presence of the Secretary-General, and to bring its work to a reasonable conclusion, without being restricted by unrealistic timelines or encouraging unnecessary delays in its work.

The second priority was the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Angola as an integrated and coordinated mission with a two-cluster structure: a political-military-DDR-human rights cluster, which is directly supervised by myself, and a humanitarian-development cluster, which I supervise indirectly through the Resident Humanitarian Coordinator.

The third priority was to raise domestic and international awareness of the serious humanitarian situation in Angola, particularly the plight of more than 4 million internally displaced people, as well as returning refugees, ex-combatants and their dependants. In addition, maximum efforts were made to facilitate the work of the United Nations humanitarian agencies on the ground and to help mobilize both resources from within — that is, the Government of Angola’s own resources — and those of the international community in order to meet the enormous humanitarian challenges still facing the country.

The final priority was to assist the Government of Angola in organizing an international donor conference to mobilize resources for the medium-term and long-term reconstruction of the country.

I should like to touch briefly on the status of implementation of those four priorities.

With regard to the Joint Commission, it was re-established under the chairmanship of the United Nations and was composed of the Government of Angola and UNITA representatives, as well as the “Troika” observers in order to facilitate and verify the implementation of the remaining tasks under the Lusaka Protocol, as particularly specified in the Memorandum of Commitment of 26 August. Its substantive work commenced on 26 September 2002 and was concluded on 20 November 2002, eight years to the day after the Lusaka Protocol had been signed.

The Government and UNITA raised many issues and concerns relating to the consolidation of peace, which were discussed within the framework of the Joint Commission in a very frank — often too frank — but always transparent manner. Agreement was reached on most of the issues, while others, such as the holding of the second round of presidential elections, were considered by both sides to have been overtaken by events. There were also some issues on which no consensus was reached within the framework of the Joint Commission. For example, it should be noted that neither the Memorandum of Commitment of 26 August nor, prior to that, the Memorandum of Understanding of 4 April addressed some of the remaining tasks under the Lusaka Protocol. Those included: provision by the Government and UNITA of information on the location of landmines and other explosives; verification of the neutrality of the national police and the disarming of all civilians; provision of guarantees of basic freedoms and human rights within the national reconciliation process; and the implementation of decentralization and administrative deconcentration programmes.

As Chairman of the Joint Commission, I drew attention to those omissions during the work of the Commission. In response, the Government delegation referred to the efforts being made by the Angolan authorities to address those issues, while UNITA made important suggestions in that regard. However, I am pleased to report that both the Government and UNITA agreed to address the medium-term and long-term tasks through a bilateral mechanism that they decided to establish in accordance with the final declaration of the Joint Commission, which was adopted on 20 November. I am also delighted to report that since then, the ruling politburo of the Movimento Popular da Libertação de Angola (MPLA) and the UNITA Political Commission met, for the first time in the country’s history, from 2 to 5 December to discuss common issues, including the revision of the Constitution as a prelude to the holding of national elections.

I should also like to refer to the Joint Commission’s final declaration, which was proposed by the Government, recommending that the Security Council consider the immediate lifting of all sanctions imposed on UNITA. In that connection, I am pleased to report that the decision made by the Council in resolution 1448 (2002) of 9 December to lift all sanctions imposed on UNITA since 1993 has been welcomed by both UNITA and the Government, which have described it as another step on the road towards national reconciliation in Angola.

Concerning the establishment of UNMA as an integrated and coordinated mission, following my arrival in Luanda, UNMA initiated a number of initiatives at the policy level, including information-sharing and regular meetings to exchange views and coordinate activities between the two clusters of UNMA. Those initiatives have provided an integrated strategy for United Nations activities in Angola, thereby promoting timely feedback from the political level to the policy and programme implementation levels. I have provided support for the activities of the United Nations country team, and, on a number of occasions, I intervened directly with the Angolan authorities at the highest levels on behalf of a number of agencies in situations in which they had encountered specific problems or difficulties in their operations.

The Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator in Angola was also appointed a member of the United Nations delegation to the Joint Commission, and he has made valuable contributions to its work, especially when it comes to discussions of the humanitarian situation in the country. As members are aware, following my return to Headquarters, the Deputy Special Representative was designated officer-in-charge of UNMA in order to ensure the continued coordination and integration of UNMA’s work and to underscore the principal remaining challenges in Angola, which are humanitarian and developmental.

I now turn to the humanitarian situation. The overall humanitarian situation in Angola remains extremely difficult, although there has been some notable progress in meeting the needs of the Angolan people. Since June 2002, the humanitarian operation has doubled in size and more than 1 million people have been assisted as a result of the delivery of food, health care, water and sanitation items. Nevertheless, there is still a need to redouble those efforts as the process of resettlement of 80,000 ex-combatants and 200,000 family members, millions of internally displaced persons and hundreds of thousands of returning refugees from neighbouring countries gets under way.

At this stage, the humanitarian community remains focused on meeting acute emergency needs, while hoping to move towards recovery and reconstruction in the coming months. It needs to be assisted financially and materially and with logistical support. On 26 November, I participated in the official launch of the consolidated inter-agency appeal for 2003, which we hope will be the last emergency appeal for Angola. The appeal requires some $384 million to enable the agencies to fund and complement the efforts of the Government of Angola in many ways, particularly through the provision of vital assistance to the affected population in need.

With regard to the international donor conference, it will be recalled that the Government of Angola had requested the United Nations, and the Security Council has agreed to authorize UNMA to assist and support its efforts to convene such a conference in order to secure additional financing for humanitarian assistance and post-conflict development. In that regard, consultations and coordination efforts have been ongoing between the Government of Angola and the United Nations. As a result, it has been agreed that the conference should not be rushed, but rather that it should be properly prepared for and that the prerequisites for a successful outcome should be met, because there is no point in having an international donor conference in which the donors do not donate. Therefore, that would include an effort on the part of the Government in order to allay any concerns that the donor community might have with regard to the allocation and spending of national revenues. Meanwhile, the tentative date for the donor conference would be during the first quarter of 2003, and the venue would be in Brussels.

In conclusion, while it is fair to say that enormous progress has been made in the peace process, there is still much that remains to be done by the people of Angola and by the international community to further consolidate peace and to enhance national reconciliation, national reconstruction and national development. Next month, Angola will take its place at this table as a member of the Council. At that time, the country will move from being a recurring item on the Council’s agenda to becoming a valuable contributor to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Meanwhile, however, we should continue to support the efforts of the Angolan Government aimed at the comprehensive implementation of demobilization, social reinsertion and resettlement programmes for ex-combatants, internally displaced persons and refugees. We should also respond positively to the Government’s request by providing technical assistance for the forthcoming national elections, tentatively envisaged for 2004. Our efforts must also be intensified to help address the humanitarian situation, to help build capacity in human rights, with particular emphasis on children’s rights, and to provide assistance in mine action.

Finally, I wish to recall that the United Nations has been involved in the promotion of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Angola since 1988, when the first United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM I) verified the withdrawal of Cuban and South African forces. That initial United Nations presence has been followed subsequently by that of UNAVEM II, UNAVEM III, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, the United Nations Office in Angola, and currently UNMA. At all times, the United Nations has been, and I hope will remain, a steadfast partner in the efforts of the Government and the people of Angola at peacemaking and national reconciliation. In that regard, we must not forget Alioune Blondin Beye and many others who have lost their lives while serving the United Nations in Angola. Indeed, it seems to me that the greatest tribute to their memory should be the irreversibility of peace in Angola and a new resolve that never again will the soil of Angola receive for burial the bodies of its sons killed in a civil war.

The President (spoke in Spanish): I thank Mr. Gambari for his introduction of the report of the Secretary-General.

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultation, the Council will proceed to informal consultations on this item following the adjournment of the 4672nd meeting.

The meeting rose at 4:05 p.m.
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