NEW YORK, 30 JUNE 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3795th MEETING (the situation in Angola)
Portugal associates itself with the statement made this morning by the representative of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Portugal shares the positive assessment of the peace process in Angola contained in the Secretary-General's report. Indeed, the formation of a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the return of UNITA parliamentarians to the National Assembly, the start of normalization of State administration and the special status of the President of UNITA all are milestones in the Angolan peace process.
These important achievements were obtained with the firm engagement and support of the international community, and particularly of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), and the tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Maître Beye.
My delegation would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the exemplary efforts of Maître Beye and the staff of UNAVEM III, whose diligence and patience have overcome countless obstacles, including that most difficult one to conquer despair that there will ever be peace. The United Nations should be justly proud of the work that UNAVEM III has done in Angola in support of peace and national reconciliation.
Certain things, however, remain to be done, and problems do persist. As the Secretary-General points out in his report, the road towards lasting peace in Angola remains a difficult one. Portugal believes that the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) is the right response to the current situation in Angola. It will permit the United Nations to remain engaged in the process, which is still fragile. On the other hand, the Angolans must get the message that they must seize this opportunity to consolidate peace. A return to war will not be tolerated by the international community.
We hope that the long-awaited meeting inside Angola between President José Eduardo Dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi will take place as soon as possible. My delegation believes that this meeting will contribute decisively to the completion of the remaining political and military aspects of the peace process.
Despite the ongoing tensions in north-east Angola, the manner in which both the Government and UNITA leadership have been dealing with each other shows that they may have learned something from bitter experience about the virtues of restraint and dialogue. The same could certainly be said about their constructive cooperation within the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. We urge them to continue to follow this pattern.
The different components of MONUA will play a crucial role in this important stage of the peace process. In particular, the monitoring of human rights and humanitarian aspects will have a long-term effect on the type of post-war society that will emerge in Angola. In this context, we fully support the strengthening of the police component of MONUA as well as its political assistance for promotion of tolerance and national reconciliation.
Portugal will be participating fully in MONUA, as it will be providing the Mission's medical unit as well as military and civilian police observers. We have also pledged funds to the International Organization for Migration for demobilization and social reintegration programmes and urge other countries to contribute as well.
MONUA can play a vital role in enhancing confidence and creating an atmosphere of trust, which is needed to pave the way for democratic consolidation, including the rule of law, and the economic rehabilitation of the country. My country will continue to intensify its bilateral programmes of cooperation with the Government of Angola.
With regard to the military aspects of this follow-on operation, we share the Secretary-General's view that the pace of withdrawal of United Nations military forces on the ground must be dictated by the situation in Angola and the progress in consolidating peace rather than by external budgetary constraints. After investing so heavily in peace for Angola MONUA will be the fourth United Nations operation there the United Nations should stay the course, which is hopefully nearing its destination.
Recent developments in the area have underlined the importance of peace and national reconciliation in Angola for stability and security in the wider region. The international community, in the interest of security in the region, must therefore support the conclusion of the peace process in Angola. The establishment of MONUA is an important step in that direction.