Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ismael A. Gaspar Martins
Permanent Representantive of the Republic of Angola to the UN
At the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Angola, allow me to congratulate Mr. Miroslav Lajcák for having been elected to preside the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to assure him the support of my country in the fulfillment of his mission.
I also congratulate Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session, for the capable manner in which he conducted the work of the previous session, and Mr. António Guterres, for his election to the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations. I wish him all the success in his mandate, and I assure him of the support and cooperation of Angola.
As has been reiterated several times in this forum, peace and security are fundamental premises for stability, sustainable development, democracy and the promotion of, and respect for human rights. The theme chosen for this session, ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet,’ is timely and compels us to collectively reflect on the action of the United Nations to solve the main problems affecting humanity.
We need an organization capable of promoting international peace and security by acting swiftly to prevent potential conflict situations, improving the global strategy to combat international terrorism, and placing economic and social development issues at the center of its action.
In this context, we appreciate the relevance of the four axes defined in the Agenda of this Session, namely: Prevention and Mediation of Conflicts to achieve sustained Peace; Promotion of Human Rights; Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and the Paris Climate Agreement.
We reiterate our support to the Secretary-General's proposals for reforms with a view to revitalizing and rationalizing the resources of the Organization. The United Nations should act as the first instance in the promotion of peace diplomacy at the global level.
We also reiterate the need to reform the Security Council in order to have it reflect the reality of the contemporary world. Its current composition is outdated and needs to be urgently reformed. Inline with the African position represented in the Ezwilini consensus, Angola restates the need to increase the number of Permanent Members to ensure a fair geographical balance. It is unfair that the African continent, which accounts for almost 40% of the member states of the United Nations, is not represented among the Permanent Members in the main body in charge of maintaining peace and security in the world.
Angola underlines the importance of multilateralism in solving global problems, in accordance with a logic of shared responsibility and benefits, in recognition of the legitimate interests of all, and in concertation towards realistic solutions.
Angola's attachment to multilateralism is strongly emphasized in its role in solving problems which threaten peace and security on the African continent, particularly in the Great Lakes Region. In the context of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL), Angola has been leading diplomatic efforts with its regional and international partners to find a lasting political solution capable of guaranteeing security, stability, economic and social development, and democracy for the countries and peoples of the region.
This joint engagement has allowed for a substantial reduction of tensions in the region, with notable advances such as the continuation of the inter-Burundian Political Dialogue, as well as encouraging signs in the resolution of the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and positive developments in the peace process in the Central African Republic, which have made it possible to hold elections in the country leading to the normalization of its institutions.
Despite these advances, the path toward fully stabilizing this part of our continent is still long, and the parties involved carry the main responsibility for ending violence, respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizens of their respective countries, and building their national political institutions. In this context, they must demonstrate with actions their commitment to, and engagement with peace agreements and other political platforms negotiated either directly or sponsored by regional institutions and the international community.
The international community’s collective action under the aegis of the United Nations should also cover the fight against terrorism. In this fight, a significant part of our effort should be directed at combating the causes of terrorism and violent extremism, which reside inter alia in the social crisis and institutional fragility of many States. The case of Libya is the blatant example of this reality.
The African continent has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, which has killed innocent civilians, caused extensive damage to property and destroyed the way of life of many of its countries. Angola fully supports the efforts of the African Union, with the assistance of its international partners, to confront this scourge.
Two years ago, we adopted the Sustainable Development Agenda, an important instrument to guide the development strategies of our States. We hope that its implementation in the next 13 years will substantially reduce the major social deficiencies affecting developing nations.
The economic and financial difficulties affecting most countries have had a negative impact on the mobilization of financial resources for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, especially among the poorest, most vulnerable and with limited internal resources. International efforts aimed at securing the critical financial resources, should be guided by the Addis Ababa Agenda on Financing, adopted in 2015.
The Republic of Angola, which is now beginning a new cycle in its life as a Nation, is strongly engaged in achieving the 17 Goals of this Agenda, despite an adverse global economic environment. To this end, Angola has launched its National Development Plan, aimed at rehabilitating and modernizing economic and social infrastructures, promoting public and private investment, and enhancing training, qualification, and adequate management of human resources.
The World is moving towards consensus in recognizing the urgency of combating climate change. To this end, the Paris Agreement is extremely important in the development of enabling tools for protecting the right to development and strengthening resilience in developing countries.
Angola views this Agreement as a historic commitment, an encouragement to contain global warming and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The urgency for the world to advance in the implementation of the Paris Agreement has been dramatically highlighted by the recent climate related disasters in the various parts of the world. Angola joins in solidarity with the victims in Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States.
In order to address this and other challenges of the international community, Angola will continue to be a safe and responsible partner of the United Nations, and to contribute to the implementation of its Agenda in an engaged manner. We are increasingly able and fit to play a decisive role in restoring peace and security, particularly in Africa, and in furthering its economic development. To that end, Angola has remained stable, and pacification of the country has been achieved.
The Republic of Angola has recently held its third general elections in peacetime, in a climate of tranquility, respect for differences and high civility, which shows the stability the country lives and that the gradual consolidation of democracy is a fact.
The priorities for the new government will be focused on economic development, with particular attention to combating poverty, reducing inequalities, combating unemployment, improving governance insufficiencies, and development indicators—a sine qua non for building a prosperous and democratic society.
Regrettably, peace is still not prevalent in many regions.
Concerning Guinea-Bissau, a country linked to Angola by historical and brotherhood ties, we remain confident and expectant regarding the resolution of the political impasse. In this regard, we strongly support the efforts of all the Guinean, regional and international political and social actors, such as ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the CPLP.
The issue of Western Sahara should continue to merit due attention by the United Nations to ensure the effective implementation of the relevant Security Council and African Union resolutions. Angola encourages the main parties involved to continue the dialogue in order to resolve the dispute.
In the Middle East, we are concerned with the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Angola argues that the solution lies in the existence of two States, living side by side in peace and security.
The tension in the Korean peninsula poses a serious threat to international peace and security. Angola joins the voices advocating for a diplomatic solution and compliance with international Non-Proliferation instruments. The peoples of the region deserve to live in peace and not under the specter of a conflict the effects of which would be devastating and unacceptable to human consciousness.
Angola promptly welcomed the steps taken to normalize relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States of America, which will benefit the two peoples. The complete lifting of the economic, commercial and financial embargo would contribute significantly to ease tensions between the two countries and would eliminate one of the last remnants of the Cold War. This unilateral measure limits the Cuban people’s enjoyment of development, and its extraterritorial effects violate the principles and rules of international law.
The promotion and protection of human rights has always been at the forefront of Angola's foreign policy priorities, as evidenced by the fact that it is a party to the main international human rights instruments and maintains an exemplary cooperation and ongoing dialogue with the UN Human Rights mechanisms. It is in this context that Angola is a candidate to the Human Rights Council for the elections that will take place in October 2017. We look forward to participating actively in, and contributing to the protection of Human Rights in the regions and countries most affected by violations of these rights.
In this regard, we would highly appreciate the support of the members of this Assembly to our candidacy.
I would like to conclude by urging all Member States to renew their confidence in the United Nations, to strengthen international dialogue as a key element of a culture of peace, respect for differences between peoples, conflict prevention, and the foundations of progress and development to which all the peoples of the world have a right.