NEW YORK, 4 DECEMBER 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3840th MEETING (the situation between Iraq and Kuwait)
The draft resolution we have before us, which my delegation fully supports, is not just a simple renewal of Security Council resolutions 986 (1995) and 1111 (1997). While addressing specific aspects, in order to allow for a smoother transition to the next phase of its implementation, the draft represents a decisive step in humanitarian operations in Iraq.
It clearly states the Council's intention to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in that country, and to find ways of meeting more efficiently and adequately the priority humanitarian requirements of the Iraqi people. My delegation strongly supports these objectives, as well as an increase in the amount of oil sales permitted. But it is not only a question of increasing the amount of oil revenues. Funds are very important and irreplaceable, but also important, in our view, is how best they can be used to achieve the expected goals. It is necessary to face the problems as a whole, understand their complexity and find ways to solve the difficulties rapidly, while always bearing in mind the objective we want to pursue and the human dimension of the programme.
As important as increasing the funds is achieving the desired result: the alleviation of the suffering of the Iraqi people. The serious nutrition and health problems clearly identified in the Secretary-General's report are realities that we must rapidly attack with adequate measures. These are crucial aspects of the day-to-day life endured by the Iraqis.
The Council should address these questions, looking particularly at the plight of the most vulnerable groups in Iraq. The situation of children is especially distressing, since they are suffering all the effects of the current difficulties precisely when they most need all possible support for their physical and psychological development. Other vulnerable groups are also identified in the Secretary-General's report, and we hope they will be helped by specific programmes to meet their needs, designed in cooperation with the Iraqi authorities.
Our intention is to state clearly that the task we face is to work on solutions that could produce rapid, positive results in these areas and for these groups. We can benefit from the experience and knowledge of the United Nations agencies in the field and other humanitarian actors. They have expertise and can advise us on the best way to achieve those results.
We have an important task ahead of us. We strongly welcome the Secretary-General's initiatives to assist us in the search for adequate solutions that could improve the efficiency of this humanitarian operation. We look forward very positively to the recommendations and conclusions he will present at the end of January in his supplementary report.
As Chairman of the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), I can assure the Council that all Committee members will spare no effort to contribute to improving the methods of work of the Committee in order to expedite the approval of contracts and refine the overall mechanism to ensure the supply of goods. This can only be done in close coordination with the Secretariat and with the political support of this Council.
We must not forget that no positive results can be achieved without the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities. The importance and urgency of attaining the aforementioned objectives should not, in our view, be subject to dispute or conflicting political opinions. We are confident that we will gather the cooperation of all interested parties.