H.E. DR. JOAO BERNARDO DE MIRANDA
MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE
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Allow me to start by congratulating you, on behalf of my Government and my own, for your election to the Presidency of the United Nations General Assembly.
Your election is an acknowledgment of the many contributions by the Republic of Korea to the United Nations' efforts to maintain international peace and security as well as to the economic and social development of our peoples.
This session is being held in a period of major challenges to our organization and the international community in general.
Peace and security continue to be endangered by many armed conflicts, particularly in Africa, as well as by terrorist activities launched in systematic or sporadic fashion against some countries. Extreme poverty and misery still affect large numbers of the world population, especially in my continent, where one fourth of our 800 million inhabitants survive with less than a dollar a day. The HIV/AIDS epidemic, now affecting more than 36 million people, mostly of them economically active people, may seriously threaten the economic development and future of many societies, unless urgent measures are taken.
To face these and many other challenges, the United Nations must continue to improve their internal structure, including the Security Council, the membership of which must be reconsidered to allow for a more equitable geographic balance. In addition, its work methods should be restructured, to ensure an effective implementation of its decisions.
The United Nations must also endeavor to implement the action plans and recommendations adopted over the last decade with a view to resolve problems in the areas of HIV/AIDS, social development, human rights, racism and racial discrimination, as well as terrorism.
In the last General Assembly my Government voted for Resolution 55/158, on measures to combat terrorism. We continue to think that its implementation will be essential to fight this enemy. Terrorism is an international scourge with many faces. No country is immune to this heinous evil and to fight it we must cooperate at the national, regional and international level, under the leadership of the United Nations.
Angola reiterates its firm condemnation of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which victimized thousands of innocent civilians, and endorses the use of force to eliminate terrorist cells and their support bases.
Having been subject to terrorism for many years, Angola is pleased to join all the other States in this anti-terrorist campaign. It is in this context that we have joined the other members of the Southern Africa Development Council to promote a forum to discus and identify the many faces of terrorism, as well as effective means to prevent and fight its activities in and from our region.
As to the African continent, we think measures to combat terrorism should address particularly its sources of financing, such as the illicit diamond, drug and weapons traffic, and identify its networks, to prevent the free circulation of its members.
In partnership with some countries, Angola has developed an international diamond certification system that has prevented diamonds originated from illegal traffic to reach the international markets. Acting in this fashion, we have helped to prevent the financing of terrorist groups and their activities in many countries of our continent.
At this stage, the struggle against terrorism requires that, beyond the measures encompassed by Security Council Resolution 1373/2001, special attention is devoted to the completion of an international convention against terrorism. This legal instrument could eliminate some of the ambiguities still surrounding the definition of this phenomenon.
My government is firmly committed to peace in Angola, in the African continent and in the world as a whole.
After a period of uncertainty, peace is slowly becoming an irreversible reality in Angola. The regular forces of Unita's militarist wing, which had launched a large-scale military campaign to seize power, have been completely neutralized. Counties under their illegal control have been liberated and the Angolan government now controls the entire national territory.
It is now a daily event -- large number of rebel soldiers and officers surrendering their weapons and being integrated into the Angolan society. Today, Unita's military wing has only small groups insufficiently armed, in the jungle or in remote areas of our large territory. Although they can make isolated armed attacks, they do not represent anymore a threat to the Angolan democratic institutions or to the safety of most of our population.
My Government believes the Lusaka Protocol continues to be the valid formula to resolve problems related to peace and national reconciliation in Angola.
The environment of peace that starts to prevail has favorable repercussions for the country's economy. Although considerable distortions and weaknesses still exist, reform efforts underway can help to overcome serious social problems and make possible holding general elections in the near future in a truly democratic environment.
As a result of long period of war, Angola still needs support of the international community in its effort to alleviate poverty of the displaced population, refugees and to rebuild its infrastructure.
This environment of relative peace would not be possible without the help of the international community, which made the distinction between those committed to peace and democracy and the apologists of war and imposed Security Council sanctions against Unita's militarist wing led by Jonas Savimbi. The most visible effect of these sanctions was their contribution to a significant reduction of his capacity to wage war and, as a consequence, to persuade a great number of its members to give up their weapons and join the peace effort.
This outcome clearly demonstrates the efficacy of the sanctions as a means and not as an end in itself. That is the reason my government favors keeping and tightening them until peace becomes irreversible in Angola. Nevertheless, my government is still concerned with findings of United Nations reports according to which not all countries have fully adopted measures called for by the sanctions resolutions.
The resolutions adopted by the Security Council on sanctions against Unita were decisions adopted according to the powers given to the Council by the UN Chart. All nations are legally obligated to abide by these resolutions and implement them.
The resolutions imposing sanctions against UNITA adopted by the Security Council constitute a decision taken in accordance with its power under the Charter. All Member States are under a legal obligation to accept and carry out such decisions. The resulting obligations to the Member States prevail over any inconsistent obligation to which they might be subject by virtue of any other treaty or international agreement to which they are or may become party.
This principle should also be applied regarding sanctions against UNITA.
The Angolan Government considers inconsistent the arguments by certain governments - - some of which have privileged relationship with Angola - of a supposed incompatibility between their internal legislation and Security Council resolutions. We appeal to these countries to reverse their position and take the measures required. This, we believe, will contribute to the development of harmonious bilateral relationships with Angola.
Angola is firmly engaged in a search for peace in the Great Lakes region and particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are pleased with the positive results achieved lately by the peace process. In general, the cease-fire has been adhered to. Foreign troops have been withdrawn. Angola, for example, did withdraw 75 percent of its troops, Namibia has completed its withdrawal and both Zimbabwe and Uganda have started to repatriate their respective armies. Only Rwanda has not yet taken any step to signal its willingness to withdraw its forces and, therefore, to fulfill its basic obligation as a signatory of the Lusaka Agreement and of the pertinent resolutions of the Security Council.
We are hopeful that proper preparation-of the inter-Congolese dialogue will lead to a substantive discussion of the major questions regarding the political future of the DRC.
As regards Burundi, Angola salutes the establishment of a transition government, a direct outcome of the Pretoria Agreement, for which the mediation efforts of former President Nelson Mandela were so crucial. We hope this step will soon lead to peace and stability in Burundi and good-neighbor relations with bordering countries.
In Western Sahara, Angola thinks it is necessary to search a solution acceptable to both parties, allowing surmounting barriers to the implementation of a plan to resolve the conflict. My Government encourages the United Nations and the OAU to persist in their efforts in this direction.
The international community should not forget the problems of Somalia. The establishment of a national transition government is an important step in the path for a peaceful resolution of the internal conflict there. Both the UN and the OAU should support this step in order that Somalia may return to its rightful place in the community of nations.
Angola is concerned with deterioration of the process in the Middle East, which results from recent violence intensification. We think a resolution of this conflict between Israel and Palestine will require negotiations. Therefore, we make an appeal to the parties to continue their dialogue and to abide by the agreements they signed and by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
Angola is pleased with the advances achieved by the fraternal people of East Timor in their struggle for the right to self-determination and independence. The political, moral and diplomatic support that Angola and other members of the international community provided through the years in major international fora was decisive for the people of the territory to reach a point where they can finally choose their destiny in freedom.
The Timorese are now preparing to proclaim the birth of a new independent, sovereign and democratic nation but will continue to need the support of the United Nations for the consolidation of their institutions.
The international economic recession will have a major impact on the developing countries and particularly in Africa, which has already suffered the effects of globalization. Of course, African countries cannot avoid globalization. But to engage into cooperative and collective activities, the African nations must be based in strong States, something that hardly exists in the continent.
In their New Partnership for the Development of Africa, NEPAD, the countries of the continent have found the path to break away from the stagnation, to promote inter African cooperation and reach development.
Angola is engaged in this New Partnership. Economic progress can be achieved in Africa through the promotion of trade among its nations, the establishment of healthy economic conditions and good governance, fighting the regional threats, including conflicts. and endemic diseases, and welcoming capital inflows.
We hope NEPAD will become a force for political stabilization and economic development in African countries, particularly those affected by serious divisions.
The International Conference on Development Finance in Monterrey, Mexico, must be an opportunity for the mobilization of resources for development, especially for the 49 less developed countries, 34 of which are in Africa, and to alleviate the extreme poverty under which more than 600 million people are now living.
I thank you.