NEW YORK, 30 OCTOBER 1998
STATEMENT BY Mr. RUI VINHAS, REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 53rd SESSION
(Consolidation of Peace trough Practical Disarmament Measures)
The concept of Practical Disarmament, which was first introduced by former Secretary-General of the UN, Boutros-Ghali in his Agenda for Peace has been given increased attention both by Member States and the international community, as well as by the Secretary-General in his reform programmes in particular.
This reflects the fact that in most conflict and post-conflict environments, questions of control of small arms and light weapons, demining, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants are increasingly considered to be crucial for effective conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. The disarmament component of post-conflict has to be addressed realistically when we engage in conflict resolution so that we may have a durable peace.
We mention this in order to permit a proper assessment of the merits of the draft resolution on "Consolidation of Peace through Practical Disarmament Measures" which effectively links the concept of some disarmament aspects with the concept of conflict resolution.
Following Resolution 52/38G, a Group of Interested States was established this year under the leadership of Germany to facilitate the process of assisting affected countries in their efforts to consolidate peace. Within the framework of this Group, we have been dealing with concrete efforts in practical disarmament, by jointly sponsoring concrete projects upon request by affected countries. In doing so, the Group is taking a major step from the merely conceptual to having a real impact.
The Group has already sponsored two projects and my Government was particularly pleased to have made a financial contribution to the first project supported by the Group, the "Train the Trainers" workshop, which took place in Yaounde in July.
We would like to encourage the Group of Interested States to continue its very valuable work , wishing that we could move from the discussion of practical disarmament (seminars, workshops ) - to more concrete and practical projects.
Portugal once again fully supports the draft resolution on "Consolidation of Peace through Pratical Disarmament Measures" just introduced by the distinguished German Ambassador and we particularly welcome the reference to small arms and light weapons in operative paragraph 4, widening the conceptual scope of the mandate of the Group of interested States in order to include more ambitious objectives.