NEW YORK, 20 SEPTEMBER 2001
STATEMENT OF THE TROIKA OF OBSERVER STATES TO THE LUSAKA PROTOCOL - THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, PORTUGAL AND THE UNITED STATES -, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL (special session on the situation in Angola)
Thank you, Mr. President.
Today I have the privilege to speak on behalf of the Troika of Observer States to the Lusaka Protocol: the Russian Federation, Portugal and the United States.
We are grateful to the French Presidency for convening this important meeting, and we are pleased to welcome Interior Minister Nandó to the Security Council. We believe that the Presidential Statement to be adopted after this meeting constitutes an expression of international solidarity with the Government and people of Angola.
As we did following the May 6th attack on Caxito and the August 10th attack on a passenger train in Cuanza Sul, we express our condolences to the Government and people of Angola in the wake of these and other recent UNITA assaults on civilians. These outrages have a number of common characteristics:
- All were against civilian targets, and each appears to have been chosen deliberately to further traumatize the people of Angola;
- UNITA forces fired indiscriminately at crowds of civilians seeking to escape;
- All appear to have been planed as demonstrations of UNITA's continued ability to disrupt the economic, political and social life of the country.
Our challenge as the Security Council is no different than the challenge faced by the elected Government of Angola and by all Angolans of good will how do we bring an end to the suffering of the Angolan people?
The policy of the Troika remains strong support for the Lusaka Protocol as the basis for peace in Angola. The Lusaka Protocol offers a simple blueprint Angola must be one free and independent nation, with one democratically constituted government, and with only one army present in its territory.
Put in the terms of the Protocol, UNITA must trade its present tactic of seeking power through force of arms for the path of democracy. UNITA must enter the political life of the country as an unarmed political party, one that is free to give voice to the aspirations of its many supporters. To do so, it must give up its weapons, demilitarize its armed wing, and allow the elected Government of Angola to extend its state administration throughout the country.
The obligation of the Government of Angola is to take the steps necessary to ensure that the possibility of UNITA's full re-integration into Angolan society remains open. UNITA may or may not seize the opportunities it is offered, but those opportunities must remain on the table if there is to be peace in Angola.
All of us are frustrated that peace has not yet come to Angola. The Security Council authorized four major peacekeeping operations in Angola between 1989 and 1999. In addition to the enormous financial costs, this organization lost one of its greatest diplomats Maitre Alioune Blondin Beye and a number of his colleagues in the search for peace.
The position of the Troika has always been in favor of dialogue. Even at this late date, even after countless civilian deaths and a long record of broken promises, UNITA can re-engage in the peace process by accepting the binding obligations it voluntarily incurred via the Lusaka Protocol.
The Government of Angola has issued an appeal to UNITA to re-enter dialogue on how to implement the balance of the Lusaka Protocol. We call on UNITA to respond positively to this important initiative.
The Security Council adopted three packages of measures designed to promote UNITA's compliance with its Lusaka Protocol obligations, and has backed those sanctions with unprecedented unanimity and resolve. Thanks to the work of Ambassadors Fowler, Heinebeck and Ryan, these sanctions are making a positive contribution to peace in Angola.
These sanctions will always be a work-in-progress, and we pledge our support to Minister Nandó for the international community's ongoing task of implementation. Sanctions were imposed in light of UNITA's failure to comply with its obligations under the Protocol, and they will be lifted once UNITA takes the necessary corrective measures.
Another strongly held view of the Security Council is that Angola's conflict will rot be resolved by military means. The Troika has always subscribed to this position, and has consistently advised the Angolan authorities that good governance, respect for human and civil rights, strengthening the institutions of constitutional democracy, and economic reforms are critical to peace and prosperity.
The Government of Angola has expressed its intention to bring the country to new elections. Although we cannot predict the date of these new elections, our common belief is that all mandates to govern must be periodically renewed through the conduct of free and fair elections.
In this regard, Angola is no different from our own three countries.
A great deal of work needs to be done in advance of Angola's next election. The judicial framework of the process including a new constitution needs to be put into place. Voters must be registered and issued identity documents, and there must be a climate of free and dynamic political expression throughout the areas of the country in which elections will take place.
Mr. President, the reality is that many issues in Angola are reduced to the simple question, "And what about the military faction of UNITA?"
Our position is that while those within UNITA who maintain military forces can and should have a role in the political life of the country, they cannot be given veto rights over Angola's democratic future.
We reject the view that UNITA's willingness to inflict misery on the people of Angola gives it a privileged position in the political system. To do so would vindicate its policy of targeting civilians.
It would diminish the work of Angola's other political parties, who are advancing their agendas through the constitutional process. It would also diminish the growing voice of Angola's civil society movement, which has adopted non-violent change as one of its pillars.
Finally, it would diminish the contribution of UNITA members of the government and National Assembly who have cherished their parties' founding ideals but rejected the path of its present leadership.
There has been another major development in Angola, one that we would not normally address in this forum. Although the Angolan constitution does not place a limit on the number of terms a president can serve, President dos Santos announced recently that he would not seek re-election. While we regard this as an internal matter within a sovereign state and an individual political party, we would nonetheless like to comment on this announcement given the extraordinary situation in Angola.
President dos Santos' announcement was an eloquent reminder to the rest of the Angolan political class that one of the essential characteristics of democracies throughout the world is the ability to sustain themselves through peaceful leadership and generational transition.
Although we have raised a number of complex issues, we must never lose sight of the fact that our call to action is based on the simple-but-profound truth that it is the people of Angola who are suffering. While we call for the delivery of relief assistance to those in need, we cannot divorce this from our call on UNITA to cease its war against the people of Angola.
Delivery of assistance to the suffering people in areas of conflict is of the utmost importance and must continue unobstructed. However, the political imperative remains to convince UNITA to abandon the tactics that have led to such misery and embrace a strategy that will allow Angola to realize its full potential.
Peace in Angola remains an urgent task of this Council. The instruments at our disposal are the Lusaka Protocol, the relevant Security Council resolutions, and the three packages of sanctions against UNITA. These instruments can be made to work for the cause of peace, but it will require the concerted effort of every member state.
We are not yet at a point where every member state of the United Nations shares the same blueprint for peace, but we are getting closer every day.