NEW YORK, 20 FEBRUARY 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3855th MEETING (the situation the situation between Iraq and Kuwait)
Barely one month and a half has elapsed since we adopted resolution 1143 (1997), in which the Council unanimously welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to submit a supplementary report to find ways of improving the implementation of the humanitarian programme in Iraq. The Council expressed its willingness to consider an increase of the Iraqi resources funding the oil-for-food programme as needed to meet the priority humanitarian requirements of the Iraqi people. By the same resolution the 661 Committee was asked to present a report on the refining and clarifying of its working procedures.
During this period major efforts were undertaken by the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, members of the Council and the 661 Committee to review all aspects of the humanitarian programme. Many complex technical aspects were involved. The common objective was not only to provide for the continuation of the programme, but also to ensure its renovation by giving it a different and substantially increased humanitarian dimension.
The draft resolution before us embodies the appropriate reaction of the Council to all these efforts, in particular to the innovative proposals contained in the comprehensive report submitted by the Secretary-General earlier this month, which we welcomed and which deserves our highest appreciation.
As President of the Iraq sanctions committee, I have an acute sense of the serious humanitarian needs at stake and the obvious urgency of meeting them. This prompted my delegation to initiate immediately, upon the presentation of the reports, consultations with all Council members with a view to achieving agreement on a resolution giving the Council's full endorsement to the Secretary-General's recommendations.
These consultations clearly demonstrated the full commitment of all delegations to the humanitarian interests involved and the success of their cooperation in those endeavours. Many technical complexities had to be addressed. Others may still arise, or some elements may still need to be clarified. But we are confident that all the relevant questions are included in the text of this draft resolution. It provides a clear political endorsement of the actions envisaged in the new extended programme and, at the same time, allows for the necessary flexibility in its implementation, including adjustments that may be recommended by further studies to be made with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities.
The goals that we have to achieve with this draft resolution can be attained only with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities. We praise the Secretary-General for having repeatedly sought that cooperation in his overall review of the humanitarian programme and the preparation of his report. Unfortunately, certain questions remain unanswered. We join the Secretary-General in his appeals to the Iraqi authorities to cooperate fully in the implementation of this programme. With its unprecedented scope it can definitely provide substantial relief to the needs of the Iraqi people, not just through a considerable increase in the required food and health supplies, but also by providing for the rehabilitation of basic infrastructures in Iraq.
The unanimity of this Council around this draft resolution and the extended humanitarian programme it encompasses shows the resolve of the Council to improve the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people. But it also conveys a clear positive signal at this very significant moment when the Secretary-General is in Baghdad. We fully back him and wish him complete success.