UN PREPARED TO ASSIST ANGOLA AS IT BEGINS BUILDING
NEW YORK, 26 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a meeting of the Joint Commission under the Lusaka Protocol in Luanda today:
I am very pleased to chair this important meeting of the Joint Commission. The last meeting, held in 1998, was chaired by my representative, the late Maître Beye. The fact that we are meeting today is powerful testimony to the progress that Angola has made.
At this point, the military tasks set out in the Lusaka Protocol have been completed, as have the demilitarization of UNITA and the beginnings of its transformation into a political party. I congratulate the people and leaders of Angola on this historic achievement.
From now on, the battles must be fought against poverty and disease. Education, recovery and reconstruction must be the focus of action. Your efforts to promote national reconciliation are of critical importance to making progress in each of these areas.
The United Nations is prepared to assist Angola as you set out to build a lasting and equitable peace under the rule of law. The complete demobilization and genuine reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life, along with the return and resettlement of the displaced people will be essential to the success of your efforts. Only then can peace truly take hold, and your people put the years of brutal war behind them, once and for all.
It is my hope that the work of this Joint Commission, over time, can go beyond implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and lay a broader, firm foundation for a future of good governance, real democracy, transparency, security and peace. In this spirit, you can engender a lasting spirit of compromise and coalition-building, for the benefit of all the people.
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