23/04/2002
Press Release
SC/7372



Security Council

4517th Meeting (AM)


SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SPECIAL ADVISER BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON ANGOLA;


SAYS RECENT AGREEMENT CREATES BRIGHTER PROSPECTS FOR LASTING PEACE


Describes Factors Necessary for Making Peace Process Irreversible


The prospects for lasting peace in Angola were brighter now than during the previous peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict in the country, Ibrahim†Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, told the Security Council this morning.


Briefing the Council on his latest mission to Angola, he said the most significant public event during his visit was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding formally ending hostilities between the Angolan Government and the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in one of Africa’s longest-running wars.


He said that under the Memorandum of Understanding, the Government would provide assistance to UNITA soldiers and their families; reincorporate about 5,000 UNITA soldiers into the Angola Armed Forces and police; and demobilize more than 50,000 UNITA soldiers.† It was also committed to providing vocational training and to reintegrating the former combatants into civilian life and into the productive sector.


The irreversibility of the peace process, he said, would depend on a number of factors:† the quartering of UNITA soldiers must be done right; the humanitarian needs of their families must be met; conditions must be created for the promotion of national reconciliation and national reconstruction; and UNITA should emerge as a united political party and credible interlocutor in the country’s peace and democratization process.


He said that while the Government had assumed responsibility for the funding and management of the quartering areas and in providing assistance to family members of UNITA forces, it was requesting the United Nations to help in providing technical and material support, especially in the quartering areas and in the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and their families.† The Government was also planning to organize an international donor’s conference in two phases, the first planned for October.


Turning to the subject of sanctions, he said there was an apparent consensus in Angola that while suspension of the travel ban on UNITA officials would be in order, it was premature to talk about lifting sanctions associated with the military, such as the arms embargo.† UNITA would like members of its external mission to participate in the peace process and other stakeholders believed that


lifting the travel ban would facilitate UNITA’s reunification efforts and its preparations for the next phase of the peace process.


The representative of Angola also addressed the Council this morning.


Today's meeting began at 10:43 a.m. and adjourned at 11:15 a.m.


Background


The Security Council met this morning to hear a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa regarding his recent mission to Angola.


Statements


IBRAHIM GAMBARI, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, said that prospects for lasting peace in Angola were brighter now than during the previous peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict in the country.† The most significant public event during his mission was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, which had formally ended hostilities in one of Africa’s longest running wars.


In the Memorandum, the Government undertook to provide assistance to soldiers of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA); to manage the quartering areas; select and reincorporate about 5,000 UNITA soldiers into the Angola Armed Forces and police; and demobilize more than 50,000 UNITA soldiers.† The estimated time frame for the completion of those tasks was 262 days from 4 April.


He said the Government was also committed to assisting the families of UNITA soldiers -- about 300,000 people.† It was also committed to providing vocational training and reintegrating the former combatants into civilian life and into the productive sector.† Moreover, it had pledged to assist demobilized soldiers and to take care of the disabled, the orphans and widows.† In addition, the Government had undertaken the resettlement of an estimated 4.5 million displaced persons.


He said that, in signing the Memorandum, he had entered a reservation concerning the non-recognition of any general amnesty that included genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.† That statement had left some apprehension in the minds of UNITA and some segments of civil society, who felt it may undermine the peace process, because some combatants might believe it negated the Amnesty Law recently passed by the National Assembly.


The irreversibility of the peace process, he added, would depend on a number of factors:† the quartering of UNITA soldiers must be done right; the humanitarian needs of their families must be met adequately; conditions must be created for the promotion of national reconciliation and national reconstruction; and UNITA should emerge as a united political party and credible interlocutor in Angola’s peace and democratization process.


He said the Government had assumed responsibility for the funding and management of the quartering areas and in providing assistance to family members of UNITA military forces.† It had also created the National Reconstruction Service to facilitate the process of reintegration of former combatants into the productive sectors and civilian life.†


He said, however, that the Angolan Government was requesting the United Nations to help in providing technical and material support, especially in the quartering areas and in the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and their families.† To raise funds to help to meet some of the challenges of the peace process, the Government was planning to organize an international donor’s conference in two phases.† The first phase was planned for October.† Phase II was likely to take place in 2003.


Turning to the subject of sanctions, he said there was an apparent consensus within the country that while suspension of the travel ban would be in order, it was premature to talk about the lifting of sanctions associated with the military, such as the arms embargo.† UNITA would like the members of its external mission to participate in the peace process.† Indeed, some of the other stakeholders believe that the lifting of the travel ban would contribute to increased confidence in the peace process itself and also facilitate UNITA’s reunification efforts and its preparation of the next phase of the peace process.


He noted that the Government accepted in principle the lifting of the travel ban, but expressed the view that great caution was needed in implementing it.† In that regard, a case-by-case approach was preferable.


He said the humanitarian situation in Angola continued to be critical.† The number of internally displaced persons had increased from 4.1 million to 4.5†million.† Humanitarian agencies had also been requested to provide assistance to an additional 350,000 people -– the family members of UNITA military forces.† There were also an unspecified number of refugees in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Namibia.


The Government had requested United Nations agencies, such as the World Food Programme (WFP), to continue to render their support until December, he said.† Meanwhile, it should be noted that the international community had only granted 10†per cent of the needs stated in the Consolidated Appeal Process.† The Council might, therefore, wish to appeal for continued assistance to the people of Angola, especially in this critical phase of the peace process.


He said it was clear from the consultation he had held during his mission that the United Nations was expected to play a role in the present phase of the peace process.† United Nations support for the peace process might be in the following critical areas, among others:† military observation of the quartering process and the collection and destruction of weapons; civilian and human rights monitoring in the assembling areas of the families of UNITA military forces; provision of technical assistance and mobilization of material resources for the soldiers in the quartering areas; and electoral assistance.


ISMAEL A. GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on the cessation of hostilities had marked a turning point in the history of his country.† The Council had played a pivotal role in the achievement of peace –- through adoption of relevant resolutions and presidential statements.† Utilizing the tools and policy instruments at its disposal, it had expressed the will of the international community regarding the conflict by upholding the principles of democratic cohabitation, in accordance with international law.† His Government fully supported the recommendations made in Mr. Gambari’s report today and stood ready to work with the Secretary-General to advance the peace process.


He said that, as of this moment, there had been no violations of the ceasefire.† Although the ceasefire was holding and the parties were determined to achieve lasting peace, his Government was aware of the size of the challenges it faced.† It also recognized that the prevalence of lasting peace was predicated upon the successful implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.†


The United Nations had a critical role to play in both phase I and phase II of the peace process, he said.† With peace a reality, Angola would be ready to finally embark on a sustainable programme to address the medium and long-term reconstruction needs.† Angola expected the United Nations to play a central role in assisting the Government in organizing and mobilizing support for an international donors conference.† Participation of the United Nations in the peace process was without a doubt a fundamental factor for its success, and in strengthening democracy in Angola.


He welcomed Council resolution 1404 (2002), extending the mandate of the monitoring mechanism on sanctions as a manifestation of the Council’s commitment to lasting peace in Angola.† Sanctions remained an effective policy instrument to ensure the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and to prevent any departures from the spirit of peace.† While sanctions would continue to act as a catalyst for enduring peace, the Government stood ready to cooperate with the Council on the consideration of appropriate exemptions to facilitate the process of national reconciliation.†


He called on the international community to continue providing support to alleviate the suffering of millions of internally displaced persons in dire need of humanitarian assistance.


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