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You are here: Publications Press-releases, Articles & Reports Statement by The Minister for External Relations of the Republic of Angola, Dr. Joao Bernardo de Miranda, at the 59 Plenary Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations" (25 September 2004)

Statement by The Minister for External Relations of the Republic of Angola, Dr. Joao Bernardo de Miranda, at the 59 Plenary Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations" (25 September 2004)

Mr. President,

I am overwhelmed with a great sentiment of joy by seeing you preside over this 59th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

My first words are thus to convey to you, on behalf of my Government and on my own behalf, the most lively congratulations for you election.

Our satisfaction is founded in the great esteem that the Angolan people nurtures for your country, and in the strong ties of friendship and commendable fraternity that unite us.

I also wish to congratulate your predecessor for the dynamic manner in which he carried out his mandate.

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Your Excellencies,

At a time when the world confronts the horrors of violence, poverty and hunger, the members of this Assembly have once again before them the difficult responsibility of evaluating the implementation of their decisions and of seeking out new solutions in order to solve problems that affect millions of human beings and that entail a mechanism of international cooperation.

The United Nations must remain as a privileged instrument with which States face new international challenges that attempt against peace and security such as terrorism, hunger, and poverty, violations of human rights that continue to deprive millions of human beings from their fundamental freedoms, the protection of the environment, organized transnational crime, including drug traffic, and HIV/AIDS.

The difficulties that the United Nations experienced while dealing with situations that seriously affected international security have lately exposed the limitations of its structure and its operation. It is urgent that the United Nations system be reformed and adapted to the demands and challenges of our conjuncture, which is characterized by globalization.

The United Nations main organs lack a wider democratization in order to be able to express the will of most of its members. Based on geographical balance, the Security Council should be enlarged in both categories so as to reflect the new international conjuncture.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Along the last 50 years, humanity has made important advancements in the domain of science and technology, economic development, medicine and other fields, which have resulted in an improvement of living conditions, and in an increase in the life expectation of vast segments of the world population, as well as in the growth of the world's material and even spiritual wealth.

However, while some countries and continents shared these gains, others continued marginalized, that is, engulfed in economic setbacks, and forcing a significant part of their population to live below the threshold of poverty.

The aspirations of these people to a world of social justice, to the realization of their economic and social rights, including the right to development, continues to be a dream. In reality, the number of indigents has not stopped growing; since 1990, the number of poor people has been augmenting in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the south of Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the recent summit on hunger and poverty, promoted by president of Brazil Lula da Silva, the world leaders brought to light the dramatic situation of billions of human beings living mainly in developing countries who succumb to hunger, to malnutrition or to diseases that are easily preventable.

This is a repulsive portrait, being thus essential that we put the eradication of hunger and poverty in the record of priorities of our national calendars and in the United Nations’ agenda. This dramatic situation can rapidly be reversed with a broader commitment on the part of the governments of Developing Countries, and a stronger political will on the part of the richest Countries.

In addition, the restrictions to international free trade have been contributing to the deterioration of the living conditions of the populations in the countries submitted to restrictive economic measures, as is the case of Cuba. Such measures constitute an assault against moral and humanitarian principles.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

In spite of the efforts made by developing nations towards the improvement of economic indexes and the creation of social wellbeing for their populations, the practical results continue beneath the needs of the development process. This is partly caused by the imposition to developing countries of policies that do not apply to their reality.

Some institutions and rich countries pressure poor countries to follow in the same steps given by current industrialized countries during their economic ascension, alleging that in this way, developing countries will reach development faster owing to the benefit that will be granted by the implementation of experiences which have in the past yielded positive results.

These guidelines are far away from satisfying the demands for development in poor countries. They fail to place an emphasis on training institutions at the local and national level, and those institutions should indeed serve as levers for development.

Wealthy nations have a moral responsibility to foster a spirit of partnership, and not of inequality and dependence, thus contributing to the development of less affluent countries, and to their establishment of institutions capable of sustaining their insertion in the world economy.

The existing economic disparity among the wealthy countries of the north and the developing countries of the south is not a result of a choice exercised by the latter. The enrichment of the industrialized world was made at the expense of the impoverishment of the third world, through the wild exploration of their natural resources, of their workforce and of the imposition of a system of occupation and dominance.

Today, our countries and people still suffer the serious sequels of this politics of exploration and subjugation, which in some cases is worsened by internal conflicts that emerged after the end of foreign dominance.

It appears to us at times that international financial institutions and rich countries deliberately lessen these facts. In our point of view, the extensive hesitations concerning financial aid to developing countries are unjustified. Furthermore, some of the imposed preconditions seem to answer more to interests of political nature rather than requirements for sustainable economic development.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

We have until recently called on this tribune and on the international community for support in the restoration of peace in Angola. The long-sought peace has finally arrived and it demonstrated to be an irreversible fact.

The success of the peace process opened a new phase; one of creation of political premises for the construction of the society of the future, based on the rule of law, tolerance, on a market economy, and in the existence of a vibrant civil society.

In addition to this political process, my government is engaged in economic reforms, which are a contributing factor to economic and social stability.

Had it not been for the gigantic challenges that have to be faced simultaneously, this process could be faster.

So far the Angolan government has been bearing alone the task of national reconstruction.

Effectively, the rehabilitation of social and productive infrastructures, destroyed almost in their totality by the armed conflict; the social reintegration of nearly 100 thousand former-combatants and their respective families; the resettlement of more than four million internally displaced persons, and of more than 400 thousand refugees, together with an incommensurable effort for the reduction of poverty affecting most of the population; This is a very difficult task which can only be successful with the full participation of the international community.

The reservation expressed by certain international donors in supplying assistance to Angola and their abstraction from the fact that the internal conflict was quite long, destructive, that it absorbed a great part of the country’s financial, human and materials resources, and that it disrupted the country can solely find justification in the lack of political will.

The reconstruction of Angola needs urgently the partnership and substantial support measuring up to the assistance given to other country in the situation of post conflict.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

As a country that rejoices in the peace and freedom for which it fought for 40 years, Angola is concerned with the situation of prevalent instability in the DRC, a country that shares an extensive land border with Angola, and with whom we sustain a fraternal relationship. We were particularly shocked by the massacres of civilians in Gatumba. The perpetrators of this heinous act, who provoke a new escalation of violence in order to render the peace process unfeasible, must be made judicially accountable. This action confirms, among other factors, that regardless of the significant efforts made towards the peace process in the DRC, the situation is still quite fragile.

The international community, particularly the Security Council and the African Union must pay special and permanent attention to this issue in order to avoid a collapse of the process.

In this context, sub-regional organizations, the countries in the region, and other organs involved in the pursuit of long-lasting peace in that country, must work in cooperation and with an aim to encourage the Congolese parts to honor their commitments to the transitional process.

It is extremely crucial and important that all the countries neighboring the DRC reiterate their commitment to continue to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, and to not interfere in its internal affairs.

The transitional Government in the DRC needs the support of the international community. My government is willing to, within the measure of its possibilities, supply the necessary assistance to the consolidation of peace and stability in the DRC.

The crisis in Darfur is a thorn carved in the international juridical conscience. Angola supports the decision of the United Nations Secretary General to authorize the beginning of an investigation. We hope the authorities of Sudan will loyally cooperate with the African Union and the Security Council in their efforts to help bring peace to the population in that region.

As far as the situation in Western Sahara is concerned, the Government of Angola continues to consider the Baker Plan as a good basis to peacefully resolve the conflict in that territory.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Having in the past been a victim of terrorism, Angola cannot be indifferent to acts of terrorism wherever they happen.

The acts of terrorism we have witnessed in recent times, and the vile and cruel form in which they were practiced should not discourage the efforts that the international community has been formulating to combat their perpetrators, but should increase the determination to isolate terrorist groups and to frustrate their purposes.

However, we do not deem it improper or inconvenient to reflect a little further on the forms of prevention and combat to terrorism. Are the methods utilized hitherto effective per se to eradicate terrorism? Is the current collective security system capable of facing the terrorists' aggressiveness? To what extent will answers to terrorism based on the United Nations’ multilateral efforts be less incisive?

Thank you very much.

Press-center of Angola Embassy in Russia,