The statement was issued during a formal council meeting called by U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, president of the council for the month of January, to focus international attention on some of Africa's most pressing problems.
The group, also referred to as the Troika, also encouraged the Angolan government to improve human rights protection for all Angolan citizens and underscored the importance of a free media in promoting the country's ongoing democratic development.
"The Troika calls upon UNITA [National Union for the Total Independence of Angola] fighters to lay down their arms and encourages the Government of Angola to provide mechanisms for the demobilization of former UNITA combatants," the statement said.
The statement was read by Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov on behalf of the three countries.
Following is the text of the Troika statement:
The Statement by the three Observer States to the Angolan Peace Process --Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America (the Troika)
January 18, 2000
1. Members of the Troika remain deeply concerned by the tragic humanitarian situation of millions of Angolans as a result of the ongoing conflict that has ravaged the country.
2. Members of the Troika reaffirm that the primary cause of the continuing conflict in Angola is the failure of the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) under the leadership of Mr. Jonas Savimbi to comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and relevant resolutions of the Security Council, in particular its failure to demilitarize and its resistance to extension of state administration.
3. Members of the Troika note that immediate and full compliance with all provisions of the Lusaka Protocol remains the fundamental expectation of the international community.
4. Members of the Troika share the assessment of the Secretary-General that the overall situation in the country could only benefit from an improved human rights environment and from persistent efforts to eliminate human rights violations.
5. Members of the Troika condemn the human rights violations perpetrated by UNITA upon innocent civilians and remind UNITA of its responsibility to respect the human rights of Angolans.
6. Members of the Troika encourage all those within the UNITA leadership committed to bringing the current conflict to a peaceful conclusion to work constructively with the Government of Angola to create the conditions conducive to genuine reconciliation and open democratic dialogue and cooperation.
7. Members of the Troika condemn UNITA's ongoing attacks on civilian populations within the Republic of Angola and note with grave concern the escalation of the fighting into Namibia. The Troika calls upon UNITA fighters to lay down their arms and encourages the Government of Angola to provide mechanisms for the demobilization of former UNITA combatants.
8. Members of the Troika, in this connection, welcome recent statements by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos acknowledging the need for a political dialogue involving all those committed to peace, and reaffirm the importance of the continuation of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation.
9. Members of the Troika encourage the Government of Angola to enhance the protection of human rights for all Angolan citizens in accordance with the constitution of the country, and note the importance of creating the conditions for open political debate and the development of a democratic society in Angola.
10. Members of the Troika underscore the important role of a free media in promoting Angola's ongoing democratic development, and encourage the Government of Angola to respect the free press and its practitioners.
11. Members of the Troika call upon the international donor community to continue to assist the Government of Angola to fulfill its primary responsibility to address the needs of its people, including the victims of the continuing humanitarian crisis. The Troika notes that, for the year 2000, OCHA/UCAH has issued a consolidated appeal for humanitarian assistance to Angola for $258 million.
12. Members of the Troika affirm their support for the work of the Committee established pursuant to SC resolution 864 (1993) under the leadership of Ambassador Fowler and call upon regional organizations such as SADC, ECOWAS and others to render support for its activities, and continue to urge all states strictly to enforce sanctions against UNITA.
13. Members of the Troika agree that the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) has a valuable role to play in exploring effective measures for restoring peace, assisting the Angolan people in capacity building, humanitarian assistance, the promotion of human rights, and coordinating other activities, including compliance with sanctions against UNITA.
14. Members of the Troika underscore the importance of a rapid conclusion of a Status of Mission Agreement for UNOA, and urge the Government of Angola and the UN Secretariat urgently to reach agreement so that UNOA can begin to function as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 1268 (1999).
15. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the downing of two UN planes in Angola, members of the Troika call on the Government of Angola to facilitate UN access to the crash sites sufficient to allow for investigation and the full repatriation of the remains of our colleagues killed in these incidents.
16. Members of the Troika note also with deep concern that over 18 months have passed since the tragic loss of UN SRSG Alioune Blondin Beye, and that the UN and the families of the deceased have yet to receive a final report on the tragic events of June 26, 1998, and thus call upon the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to produce a report of its findings as soon as possible.
17. Members of the Troika remain gravely concerned over the fate of the crews and passengers of Russian and Ukrainian commercial airplanes shot down or otherwise lost under suspicious circumstances over territory then controlled by UNITA, and call upon the Government of Angola and all concerned parties to cooperate in ascertaining the fate of the missing, and obtaining the release of survivors by UNITA.
(Note: A Web site on the U.N. Month of Africa can be accessed at the following URL: http://www.usia.gov/regional/af/unmonth/ )
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)