NEW YORK, 26 SEPTEMBER 2003
I would like to start
by congratulating you, Mr. President, on your election to the presidency
of this 58th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We
wish you great success in the fulfillment of this difficult and noble
The current session
is taking place at one of the most troubled times in our era. The recent
events in the Gulf region were a severe test of the capacity and readiness
of the United Nations in providing appropriate responses to the challenges
presently faced by the International Community. The impact of these events
somehow diminished the cohesion of our world organization and weakened
the trust among its members.
Something failed within
the international security system which puts us in the position of having
to make it more effective, immediately.
In fact, the present
system of international security, created after the First World War, despite
the merit of having, up to the present, prevented the outbreak of a new
world conflict has, however, given signs of incompatibility in the global
collective security interests of the members of the members of the United
Nations, in relation to the new challenges of this
We urgently need to
have an integrated system capable of dealing effectively with the major
threats to the to international
Terrorism is today
the most direct threat to the security of our countries, as one can conclude
from the attacks that in the last two years killed thousands of civilians
in the United States, in Russia, in Africa and in Asia.
With regard to armed
conflicts, the situation continues to require urgent attention. During
the last decade, approximately one third of the African states were either
directly or indirectly affected by internal conflict, which resulted in
costs as high as 15 billion dollars a year, besides causing hundreds of
thousands of deaths, massive displacement of people, famine and malnutrition,
and the dissemination of diseases such as HIV.
The prevalence of
conflicts in Africa is a result not only of the divisions inherited from
the post-colonial period and the cold war or of ethnic and religious differences.
It is also a consequence of factors such as the fragility of national
institutions, the marginalization of the African Continent from the world
economy, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the consequent
arms proliferation and the weak monitoring of national borders.
This situation must
be swiftly reversed, since it can endanger the future of millions of Africans,
and increase the risk for certain
The improvement of
the United Nations political institutions and security systems constitutes
the most effective method to
It is therefore necessary to establish new mechanisms outside of the traditional strategic doctrines. The international legal documents created by the United Nations in addition to the current alliances between States, has proved insufficient to respond adequately and in a consensual manner to such threats, particularly when such changes are sponsored by other entities which are not, themselves, States.
Because of its universal nature, the United Nations plays a central role in the management of the present and future challenges. But that is not enough. It is crucial that this role be performed within a more democratic and participative framework by its members, particularly in what concerns the major decisions on international peace and security.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
Iraq and the Middle
East are today the main pockets of tension in the world, where the combined
efforts of both the United Nations are converging.
The continued loss
of life in Iraq, the majority of which is that of innocent civilians,
and among whom United Nations officials, including former UN Secretary
General Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, are a reminder of the
need for increased support by the International Community to insure the
security of the Iraqi people, the building of new institutions and the
beginning of the reconstruction of the country.
The will of the international
community and certainly that of the Iraqi people is that Iraq become,
in the short term, a viable, democratic state with institutions validated
by its people, and a country living in peace with its neighbors.
The achievement of
this goal implies the establishment of a political and institutional framework
in which the UN plays an active role, specifically in the pacification
and unification of the Country, the internal political dialog; in the
process of national reconciliation, as well as in the establishment of
new democratic institutions.
Angola hopes that
the present convergence of positions among the members of the Security
Council on the role of the UN in Iraq will facilitate the understanding
relative to the transitional process in general and to the transfer of
sovereignty to the Iraqi people.
In the Middle East,
Angola deplores the loss of civilian lives and the material damage caused
by the escalation of the conflict. The rekindling of violence between
Palestinians and Israelis represents the greater danger to the implementation
of the road map for peace, whose ultimate objective is "the signing
of an agreement for the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian
The end of the armed
conflict in Angola, last year, and the success of the peace process are
some of the most extraordinary political achievements seen in Sub-Saharan
Africa, in recent years. With the attainment of peace in Angola, for the
first time in several decades, the Southern African region became a zone
free of conflicts, and it can now focus its human and material resources
on reconstruction and development efforts.
Angola is today a
country in a post-conflict stage, and it is committed to the tasks of
overcoming the heavy burden left by a 40-year conflict; to focusing on
the strengthening of its democratic process, which even during the difficult
war period was never abandoned by its Government; and to the full resumption
of its legitimate role within the regional and international context.
In the present circumstances,
given the impact of the conflict on the human, economic, social and financial
structures of the country, along with the inequities inherited from its
colonial past, the current post-conflict stage that will lead to the building
up of a new society in Angola has been a difficult and painful process,
and this has been an obvious impediment to an immediate response to the
legitimate aspirations of the Angolan citizenry.
At the same time,
and in spite of the scarcity of the available resources, we are creating
the necessary conditions to hold our next elections, in the near future.
Despite our numerous
problems and challenges, there is hardly any assistance from the International
Community in Angola, as compared to other countries in similar circumstances,
some of which, even lacking de jure institutions received an immediate
response to their appeals. We would wish to believe that such treatment
is not due to any kind of discrimination against our country.
There is no example
in modern history of a State, rich or poor, in the aftermath of a devastating
and destructive war such as that which afflicted Angola, that has managed
to overcome the burden left by that war and rose up without outside assistance.
In Angola, this reconstruction effort has, up to now, been borne solely
by the Angolans themselves, in spite of the reiterated promises that the
only factor that hindered the supply of aid to our reconstruction was
the pacification of our country.
Therefore, we here
and now wish to renew our appeal to the International Community to help
Angola in its domestic
Angola also welcomes
the progress made in the area of peace and security in other regions of
the continent, specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In this brother country,
with which we share a long border, the role of Angola as well as that
of its partners was crucial in preventing a situation of chaos and disintegration
of that territory and convincing the parties to give up war and choose
instead a negotiated political solution.
The Congolese patriots
have shown signs of great maturity in guaranteeing the success of the
peace process and the transformation of DRC into a viable country, which,
does not constitute a threat to the stability of the borders with its
Angola will continue
to be open to strengthening the traditional relations of friendship and
cooperation it has maintained with the authorities of the interim DRC
Government as well as with the future legitimate authorities legitimately
elected by popular vote.
In the Western Sahara
there is still a stalemated situation. Difficulties regarding in holding
a referendum on the selfdetermination of the territory are a hindrance
to the search for a definitive solution for the referendum. Angola urges
the parties involved to show flexibility and political in order for the
people of that territory to decide freely about its own destiny .
Today, as one part
of the world, particularly the industrialized countries, enjoys considerable
wealth, 40 percent of the 600 million Africans continue to survive on
less than one dollar a day.
In fact, Africa continues
to show the lowest social and economic development indicators, and those
levels are becoming even worse due to the marginalization of the African
countries in the process of globalization and within the world economy,
where its trade and capital share is only one percent. Africa is also
the continent that benefits the least in terms of direct foreign investment,
receiving only 7 percent of the investment targeted to the developing
External debt has
been a huge obstacle to the development programs, because the repayment
of the debt service alone has depleted the already limited national resources
of the African States. Angola supports the cancellation of the external
debts of the Least Developed Countries (LDC), particularly those in the
measures imposed by the Bretton Woods institutions, within the framework
of the structural adjustment program, have not always been able to help
the African Continent overcome its economic problems and, in many cases,
led to controversial results.
Experience has shown,
based on such outcomes, that it is a fact that the financial institutions
very often do not take into account the idiosyncrasies of each country,
and frequently put the Governments in the position to choose between meeting
the conditions imposed by the financial institutions or meeting the real
needs of their people.
Angola hopes that
with the establishment of the African Union and the launching of NEPAD,
the dramatic situation in which the African continent finds itself today
can be alleviated, by setting priorities and giving special attention
to immediate economic development issues.