“If there is a lesson to learn from the yester-years, is that it is not sufficient to sign an agreement to have peace; on the contrary, there is a need for real commitment to implement what has been agreed upon,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Angola, Ibrahim Gambari, said at the first meeting of Angola’s Joint Commission, which is tasked with completing the outstanding issues of the Lusaka Protocol. “Persistence in dialogue, whether bilateral or multilateral, is better than settling disputes through the barrel of the guns, landmines or air bombardments,” he said. “We are here to drive the nail into the coffin of war, violence, destruction and confrontation, once for all.” Mr. Gambari, who is chairing the Commission, stressed that rebuilding the country requires the collaboration of all, with Angolans coming together, and standing shoulder to shoulder with the UN, the Troika of Observers – Portugal, the Russian Federation, and the United States – and the international community as a whole. “Reconciliation requires a strong sense of national solidarity, tolerance and fraternity,” he said. “It requires one to take a long-term perspective and not to score tactical advantages. It requires magnanimity and humanity on the part of those who currently have the advantage.” The Special Representative noted that there were also still enormous humanitarian challenges, with several thousands of people still in critical conditions needing emergency assistance from the Angolan Government and the international community. That, coupled with several other reasons, made it urgent to implement the Lusaka Protocol as soon as possible so that Angolans could begin to concentrate on the huge challenges of rebuilding the country and laying the foundations for durable peace and sustainable development. “The outcome of our work must be something meaningful which also meets the aspirations of the parties represented here, the Angolan people as a whole and the international community in our common commitment to peace, development and national reconciliation in this country,” Mr. Gambari said.