H.E. DR. JOAO BERNARDO
DE MIRANDA MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS
OF THE REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE
OF THE 57TH SESSIONOF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 15 SEPTEMBER 2002
Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to salute you, on behalf of my government and in my own name, for
your election to the Presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
We trust your knowledge and diplomatic experience will guide us to success
in our activities.
As the international situation continues in the throes of instability and insecurity, economic backwardness and the scourge of pandemics and hunger, we note with pleasure the great progress that has been made since our last session. After decades of conflict, peace was finally restored to Southern Africa and is dawning as a reality in other regions. The people of East Timor were finally able to assert its self-determination and independence. Countries such as Angola-- which have actively advocated the legitimate rights and interests of East Timor at the United Nations -- take great pleasure in welcoming this new sister republic to the family of this world organization.
Important advances were also made by the international community in the struggle
against terrorism. Thanks to a global and coordinated effort, major terrorist
networks have been dismembered. Angola reiterates it strong condemnation of
terrorist acts such as the one perpetrated against the American people in
September of last year. We continue to be committed to the strict implementation
of Security Council Resolution 1373. We support the reinforcement of control
measures, particularly in the financial area, to increasingly curb the scope
of action of terrorist groups.
All these advances underscore that, in spite of their complexity, the serious
problems that afflict our world today can be resolved. No country or region
should be doomed to live forever under the scourge of war and terror or be
deprived of its rights. Under the United Nations, the international community
must react to these crisis situations, expeditiously and effectively. Experience
shows every time that belated and ineffectual reactions lead to the escalation
of protracted and intractable conflicts, especially in Africa.
Fortunately, individual and collective efforts by many governments in Africa are providing relief to these tensions, setting the essential premises for a solid, just and lasting peace.
The current situation in Angola is a reflection of this reality. For the
first time since our independence, Angola and Angolans are now enjoying a
climate of authentic peace, thanks to the allaying of the factors that might
bring a resurgence of the past war and insecurity. The efforts made by the
Angolan government have paved the way from a fratricide war towards a path
of irreversible peace, thanks to the good will and profound patriotic spirit
demonstrated by all Angolans. Military hostilities have effectively ended
seven months ago. The Peace Understandings reached last April 4 have been
scrupulously adhered to. Armed political parties no longer exist. Today, there
is just a single army, under the authority of the Angolan government.
The peace process will soon be concluded, with the completion of the political
tasks still pending under the Lusaka Protocol. Well under way in Angola is
the process of economic and social rehabilitation, and government institutions
have started to operate normally throughout our national territory.
Evidently, given the current situation, it will be difficult for the Angolan
government to rise appropriately to the nation's economic and social challenges.
Our main challenge now lies in the reintegration into society of thousands
of combat veterans, four million displaced persons, refugees, and thousand
upon thousands of handicapped, war orphans and widows.
On behalf of my Government, I would like to avail myself of this opportunity
to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations, members of the Troika
of Observer Nations in the Peace Process and all those who, in different ways,
have contributed to the achievement of peace in Angola and who have pledged
their assistance to relieve the problems caused by the r recently -ended war.
Now in peace, Angola is more than ever ready and willing to take up its role
as a sister nation of Africa and of the World. In the coming days, it will
assume the presidency of SADC, the most important regional organization for
the economic integration of Southern Africa. Angola is also a candidate for
a non-permanent seat in the Security Council in the elections scheduled for
this session of the General Assembly.
In these organizations, Angola intends to contribute actively towards an environment of stability, fostering the development and economic welfare of our peoples.
Of central concern to Angola is the issue of peace in central Africa, particularly
in the Republic of The Congo. Only with peace will it be possible to avert
the widespread destabilization of the region.
Angola has been a factor of stability in Central Africa, having contributed
substantially for the cessation of the wave of violence and the relative peace
now enjoyed by the population in the area.
In the context of these efforts, and under the aegis of Angola, the Presidents
of the DRC and Uganda signed in Luanda, on September 6, an agreement seen
as a crucial step for the complete settlement of the Congolese conflict and
the establishment of good neighborly relations between those countries.
Angola salutes the diplomatic initiatives to resolve the conflict undertaken
by other countries, whether involved or not in the conflict, under the Lusaka
Ceasefire Agreement and the understandings reached by the Congolese parties
themselves. Angola is for a new regional order of peace, security, cooperation
and development, to be based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,
nonintervention in the internal affairs of other States, democratic values
and respect for human rights. We are willing to work together with other Central
and Southern African countries and to offer them our good offices.
The instability prevailing in some parts of the world requires a greater
measure of commitment by the United Nations and the parties concerned, for
peace and security.
Special attention should continue to be focused on the settlement of the Somali conflict, fostering the unification of the country and consolidation of lasting peace.
In Western Sahara, we are concerned at the delays in the process leading
to a referendum by the dwellers of that territory. Angola urges the parties
involved to show flexibility and to continue cooperating with the United Nations
and the African Union, towards a negotiated settlement.
In the Middle East, renewed escalation of the violence may hamper current
initiatives towards the peaceful settlement of thePalestine issue and the
termination of Arab-Israeli crisis.
We urge the parties to return to the negotiation table and to find a political settlement that will serve the best interests of all the peoples living in that region and meet their security requirements.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
Last 7uly, the African States established the African Union as a more effective
tool to help in the resolution of innumerable problems that are at the root
of its underdevelopment, such as poverty, foreign debt, lack of know-how and
epidemics, among others.
Our priority lies in putting an end to the current economic stagnation in
Africa: The establishment of NEPAD reflects the determination by the African
Governments to resolve the problem of economic backwardness, poverty, and
social exclusion that afflict the majority of their population and ever-present
marginalization of Africa from the international markets in. terms of capitals
services, and goods.
Angola hopes that the international community, especially the donor nations,
will lend Africa a helping hand. by increasing their official, development
assistance, on the basis of fair and non-discriminatory criteria.
In closing, allow me to offer my hearty congratulations to Switzerland as
it joins our family of members of the United Nations.