Window of opportunity for peace in Angola: UN official

Window of opportunity for peace in Angola: UN official

Although the humanitarian situation in Angola has deteriorated, there is a currently a window of opportunity for re-launching the peace process, a senior United Nations official told the UN Security Council today.

In a briefing given to the Council this morning, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Africa, Ibrahim Gambari said it was gratifying to note that, for the first time, there was a convergence of opinion that the UN must play a more proactive role in the peace process.

Mr. Gambari visited Angola from 8 to 14 December, and held extensive discussions with Angolan Government representatives and others.

The main elements of the UN policy for helping end the conflict - that there could be no military solution, that UN sanctions against rebel group UNITA were an important tool for the return of UNITA to the political process, and that the Government should undertake reforms as contributions to the peace process - were reaffirmed, he explained.

Mr. Gambari described the humanitarian situation as worsening, with a growing number of people being forced from their homes.

Nevertheless, he said, the Government had improved access to food delivery and the distribution of humanitarian aid in many parts of the country, and food was now arriving in villages that were inaccessible just a few months ago.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who attended the meeting, expressed his support for his Special Adviser's assessment.

Also today, the Council held a wrap-up meeting on its work during the month of December, when the 15-member body's rotating presidency was held by Ambassador Moctar Ouane of Mali.