NEW YORK, 29 OCTOBER 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3827th MEETING (the situation in Angola)
Portugal fully supports the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), until 30 January 1998. It endorses the recommendation of the Secretary-General to postpone the withdrawal of the United Nations military component until the end of November, taking into account the situation on the ground.
The peace process in Angola has reached a mature phase, but it is clearly not yet irreversible. Indeed, we are in a process, but we have not yet achieved the peace. The draft resolution before us has been designed to work towards that goal, and we urge its full implementation.
We deeply regret that significant progress has not been made in the remaining key tasks of the peace process. The very slow pace of the demilitarization of UNITA and the slow-down of the extension of State administration into the areas controlled by UNITA following the adoption of resolution 1130 (1997), as reported by the Secretary-General, are of particular concern to Portugal.
The Security Council gave UNITA two grace periods 60 days in which it had the time and the opportunity to move positively and decisively towards fulfilling its obligations and the terms of the Acordos de Paz, the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant resolutions of the Council.
In adopting resolution 1127 (1997), the Council sent a clear and unambiguous message to UNITA: take concrete and irreversible steps towards a successful conclusion of the peace process. Unfortunately, UNITA, despite some positive actions and promises, has not taken those concrete and irreversible steps, and the international community, through the Security Council, has to act accordingly.
We hope that UNITA will understand the message that is being sent by the Council. The measures that will go into force tomorrow are not an end in themselves. They are aimed at achieving the objectives shared by all those who wish to see peace take root in Angola; and, let me stress once more, these objectives were freely accepted by the signatories of the Acordos de Paz and the Lusaka Protocol.
The Council is clearly ready to review these measures in the light of meaningful and irreversible progress on the ground, but it is equally ready to consider additional measures, if needed.
We urge the Government of Angola and UNITA to reaffirm in practical and positive steps their commitment to national reconciliation and peace. The future of the Angolan people is at stake.