NEW YORK, 14 AUGUST 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TADEU SOARES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3811th MEETING (the situation in Albania)
At the outset I would like to state that we associate ourselves fully with the statement that will be delivered in a few moments on behalf of the European Union by the representative of Luxembourg.
Portugal, from the very beginning, actively supported the efforts of the international community to provide assistance to Albania after its descent into chaos and turmoil. In this regard, we would like to join others in praising the special efforts of Italy as the driving force behind the establishment of the multinational protection force in Albania, to which Portugal has contributed logistical support in the form of air transportation. The presence of the force permitted the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to the Albanians and stabilized the political situation in the country, allowing the holding of elections. In fact, the deployment of the multinational protection force almost certainly averted a full-scale civil war, the consequences of which would have been disastrous, not only for the Albanians themselves but for the already volatile situation in that region of Europe.
The combined efforts in Albania of the United Nations, the European Union, the Western European Union, the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and international economic institutions and relief agencies, all under the effective coordination of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), are a good example of a regional response to a crisis by the international community. The United Nations Charter refers specifically to the utilization of regional arrangements under the authority of the Security Council, and the response to the crisis in Albania was carried out in strict accordance with these terms.
Now, as the multinational protection force has withdrawn from Albania, it is time to move forward. Naturally, the international community will continue to assist the Albanian people, but it is the Albanian Government that is principally responsible for the reestablishment of law and order and for pursuing national reconciliation and economic reconstruction in Albania, as well as for continuing the process of democratization and the protection of human rights. We urge the Albanian authorities to respond positively to the efforts of the international community and to cooperate fully with it in the fulfilment of these important objectives.