NEW YORK, 22 FEBRUARY 2001
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON BEHALF OF THE TROIKA OF OBSERVER STATES TO THE LUSAKA PROTOCOL (Portugal, Russian Federation and United States of America), TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL (the situation in Angola)
Thank you, Mr. President
Today I am speaking on behalf of the Troika of Observer States to the Lusaka Protocol: Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States.
We would like to welcome Foreign Minister Miranda back to the Security Council, where we have come to know him as a valuable interlocutor on the difficult issues that face Angola and Central Africa. Indeed, we are grateful to him for his participation in the Council's meeting with the Political Committee.
We often hear the Lusaka Protocol has been rendered irrelevant due to the catastrophic events that plunged Angola back into war in December 1998, a new round of fighting from which the country has yet to emerge. UNITAs failure to implement the Lusaka Protocol was the primary cause of this renewed fighting, and UNITAs reversal of this policy must remain a demand of the Security Council.
We regard the Lusaka Protocol as partly implemented, and believe that the role of the Security Council should be to help complete the process. While it is true that Lusaka may not be completed as originally envisioned, it contains fundamental principles that offer the only viable solution for peace in Angola.
Key Lusaka principles have already been translated into reality. Angola has a multiparty National Assembly, a Government of National Unity and Reconciliation, and an integrated Armed Forces. It has the beginnings of an independent media, a gain that we must encourage the Government to nurture and protect, and it has an increasingly vibrant civil society movement. Although we will continue to encourage additional steps, we should also periodically reflect on a decade of both suffering and progress for the people of Angola. We believe that there are concrete gains of the Lusaka and Bicesse eras that need to be maintained and developed, even though the belligerent wing of UNITA has chosen the path of conflict.
We are often asked why we maintain the Troika when the Lusaka process is - at best - stalled. The answer is that our three countries have spent over a decade working together with the UN and the Government of Angola in the search for peace. We do not offer ourselves as the exclusive interlocutors for peace, but rather we offer ourselves to the Lusaka parties and the international community as three countries with unique perspectives on Angola. We welcome the Government of Angola's renewal of its commitment to the Lusaka Protocol, and call on UNITA to lay down its arms and take the path of peace. We appeal to our partners in the international community to rededicate themselves to the Lusaka Protocol, which we consider to be Angola's last, best chance for peace.
The Troika will continue to support the only principle by which the people of Angola can be delivered from the scourge of war: the demilitarization of political parties in return for their full freedom to compete for the support of the Angolan people. This means that UNITA - on which the Council has consistently and accurately placed primary responsibility for the current conflict - must demilitarize and irreversibly enter Angolas political life as a vibrant, Democratic Party.
The Troika welcomes the intent of the government and parliamentary opposition to hold elections in 2002, which will be an opportunity for all parties to seek a popular mandate through a peaceful and democratic political process. Help from the United Nations, and the international community would do much to ensure the success of this overdue election. We look forward to discussions with Angolas many partners on how we can collectively support this process.
Sanctions against UNITA are a tool for peace in Angola. Over time, they have increased the difficulty and cost of UNITAs resupply and contributed to a degradation of its capacity to wage war. Any step we take to improve the implementation of those sanctions contributes to the search for peace in Angola. It is of course painfully slow progress for the people of Angola, who continue to suffer, but it is an important progress nonetheless.
The Angola sanctions committee, under Chairmen Fowler and Ryan and the experts panel under the leadership of Ambassadors Mollander and Larraine, have done groundbreaking work in the implementation of sanctions. They are innovators whose willingness to explore new methods must be encouraged. At the end of the day, we must focus on outcomes, not process. The outcome we seek is peace in Angola through - inter alia - the improved implementation of sanctions against UNITA.
The Troika has actively supported the three packages of UN sanctions on UNITA and will continue to do so. At the same time, we as the Troika believe that neither sanctions nor military action alone can bring Angola the just and lasting peace its people so deeply desire and so richly deserve. While we must work with the Government of Angola and others to improve implementation of sanctions, our dialogue with Angola goes well beyond these narrow issues.
The Troika has consistently maintained 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 bring the Angolan conflict to a lasting conclusion. The Troika's support for sanctions is part of a broader policy to engage the Government of Angola on good governance as its best counter-insurgency tactic.
We note that USG Gambari will soon travel to Angola and look forward to continued discussions with him. We hope that Professor Gambari's trip will contribute to improved relations between the Government of Angola and the United Nations. We believe that Angola needs the engagement of the United Nations in the difficult search for peace, and it is our hope that the Government of Angola and Professor Gambari will work together in our common cause. As the Troika and as individual member states, we pledge our support to this effort.