NEW YORK, 13 FEBRUARY 2002
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR SEIXAS DA COSTA, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON BEHALF OF THE TROIKA OF OBSERVER STATES TO THE LUSAKA PROTOCOL (Portugal, Russian Federation and the United States of America), TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL (The humanitarian situation in Angola)
Today I will speak on behalf of the Troika of Observer States to the Lusaka Protocol, the Russian Federation, the United States and Portugal.
We welcome the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola to this important discussion. His presence signals the strengthened engagement of the Angolan Government in responding to the needs of the staggering number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees in Angola, as well as in supporting the ongoing international effort to improve the humanitarian situation throughout the entire country. We note that the UN and this Security Council have welcomed these important efforts by the Angolan Government.
Unfortunately, the gravity of the humanitarian situation in Angola may soon dwarf the international community and the Governments efforts. The humanitarian burden of the war continues to grow and has accelerated in recent months. The estimated number of IDPs is now over four million. Refugee numbers continue to grow in Zambia, Namibia and the DRC over 30,000 in recent months. The conflict is forcing population to move often against their will and often with inadequate preparation for their care. We particularly want to register our grave concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the areas of the country most difficult for relief agencies to access.
The Government of Angola can do more to help its own citizens who are displaced, and we are encouraged to hear the representatives of the Government of Angola recognize that they themselves need to do more for their own people. We welcome recent expressions of intent by the Government to provide more resources in the areas of health, transport and food distribution and look forward to these important commitments quickly becoming reality.
We encourage the Angolan Government to take a more active stance in the provision of direct assistance and to fully cooperate in the efforts of the international community to alleviate the suffering of those who are not receiving the necessary assistance. The members of the Troika are looking for action and expect the Government of Angola and the UN to report back on their progress in addressing the humanitarian situation.
This meeting of the Security Council is proof that the humanitarian situation in Angola is of the utmost concern to the international community. The ongoing conflict has brought to the Angolan people unacceptable suffering and subjected them to terrible living conditions. If there were no other reason to justify the renewed commitment of the international community to the peace process in Angola, this dire humanitarian situation would be reason enough.
We need to be creative and constructive in finding adequate and appropriate solutions that address the suffering of millions of Angolans, in particular those living in the most remote areas. This must be done in a way that combines efficiency and respect for the basic political principles of the peace process. Humanitarian assistance should not be used to achieve political advantage and it also should not be withheld or impeded in any way. Access should be ensured for aid workers throughout the country.
We must be practical: there are populations in the territory of Angola that have been unable, until now, to access food supplies and basic medical assistance, due to the conditions created by the war. The good will of those involved in this process will be measured by how they address the humanitarian needs of the Angolan people. All those involved need to understand that the international community cannot allow the current situation to continue indefinitely. Everyone must show the flexibility to let others act when they are not able to do so.
Without peace and stability there will be no durable solution to the dire humanitarian situation in Angola.
We have often stated our conviction that there can be no military solution to the Angolan conflict. The Troika of Observers to the Lusaka protocol praises the efforts being made by the Secretary-Generals Representative in order to relaunch a dialogue between the parties. The Troika is of the opinion that all these efforts must be pursued in the most transparent manner, in order to sustain the confidence of the parties, keeping in mind that the Lusaka Protocol is, and will remain, the sole framework for peace.
We also consider the use of agreed-upon facilitators as a helpful tool to clarify each partys understanding of the current situation. Nevertheless, to move the peace process ahead the presentation of any concrete proposals in this regard should remain firmly in the hands of the United Nations, as the representative of the international community and the guarantor of the Lusaka Protocol, and through which a future solution must be found.
We once more reiterate that only the practice of good governance, respect for human and civil rights, and the delivery of better social and economic conditions to the Angolan people can contribute to bring the conflict to an end. Within the responsibilities the Troika assumed under the Lusaka Protocol, we are prepared to continue to assist the UN in its pro-active role during this phase of the peace process, as long as requested do so.
Thank you, Mr. President.