NEW YORK, 27 AUGUST 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3920th MEETING (Letters dated 20 and 23 December 1991, from France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America (S/23306, S/23307, S/23308, S/23309 and S/23317) Last March, in an open debate on this item, Portugal welcomed the proposals put forward by the Organization of African Unity and the League of Arab States to find a compromise solution to the question of the bombing of the Pan Am and UTA flights. Those proposals, aimed at avoiding further delays in the serving of justice and at putting an end to the suffering of the Libyan people, were envisaged by Portugal as a constructive political effort.
We believe that justice delayed is justice denied, first of all, to the relatives of the victims suffering the loss of their beloved. Justice delayed is justice denied also to the whole international community defending itself against terrorism and upholding international law. Finally, justice delayed is justice denied also to the innocent Libyan people, who are enduring sanctions imposed on their country.
Any compromise solution should obviously be consistent with the legal and political dimensions enshrined in the Security Council's resolutions. And we should not lose sight of our goal of enabling justice to be rendered.
We were convinced, then, that the time had come for the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, to find more efficient ways to bring this matter to an end. Today, with the adoption of this draft resolution, the Security Council will show that it is up to the challenge. The members of the Council have proved to be open to positive and serious proposals. My delegation acknowledges, in particular, the efforts undertaken by the United Kingdom and the United States to find alternative solutions that will enable the Council to respond fully to the concerns of the international community.
By adopting this draft resolution, the Council will open the way to bringing to trial the two persons charged with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, a hideous crime that has gone unpunished for almost 10 years now. In this trial, the accused will enjoy fully the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, as that instrument continues to apply to procedure in accordance with Scottish law. The solution found could not be more reassuring that the accused will enjoy a fair trial.
The Council is responding with a position of openness and dynamism to the will of the international community. That is, after all, the role of the Security Council, upon which the general membership of the United Nations, under the Charter, has conferred the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. We shall always recall that in performing that role the Council acts on their behalf.
My delegation commends the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States for this positive step. We also would like to thank the Government of the Netherlands for its indispensable cooperation. We welcome the positive response of the Libyan Government. The solution that has been put forward reveals the vitality of the Council. Today, through the Council's decisive action, justice will finally be able to emerge and sanctions to be lifted.
We are confident that the opportunity afforded by this draft resolution, which my Government fully supports, will not be missed.