Noting that Angolan authorities have recently taken steps to establish a reconciliation and amnesty process, members of the United Nations Security Council today said they wanted to see more involvement in the effort on the part of the UNITA rebel army.
"Members of the Council feel that UNITA is not responding, in particular Mr. Savimbi is not responding to this process," the Council's current President, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, said in a press statement following the body's informal consultations. "It is becoming a more open process. There is room for all members at the top of UNITA to respond to this, and the Security Council wants to see that happen."
Council members said the Government of Angola was "working in the right direction" in moving towards elections in late 2002, and otherwise pursuing the Lusaka process.
The Council's meeting included an update by UN Emergency Coordinator Kenzo Oshima on his recent humanitarian assessment mission to Angola, and a briefing by Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Advisor on Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, who introduced Mr. Annan's most recent report on Angola.
Ambassador Greenstock said there was "very strong support" within the Security Council for Mr. Gambari's efforts to take forward the process of international support for reconciliation and internal dialogue in Angola under the terms of the Lusaka protocols, with the support of the Government.
On the humanitarian front, the Council President said members of the Council were "distressed" at the dire situation in Angola, where people "are putting politics before the needs of the Angolan people in this process, causing huge disruption, upset, and humanitarian misery." Council members also stressed that the international community "must respond more urgently to the appeal for funds from the UN and others," he added.
Talking to reporters after his briefing to the Council, Ambassador Gambari said that the sanctions against UNITA were working, and that the group's conventional military capacity had been sharply reduced. "Unfortunately," he added, "the guerrilla activities have intensified and these are causing enormous suffering to the people of Angola." The priorities are to intensify the sanctions and persuade Mr. Savimbi and UNITA to end all guerrilla activity to allow access for relief workers, he said.