Angola: Security Council calls on UNITA to respond to Government peace plan

Angola: Security Council calls on UNITA to respond to Government peace plan

Welcoming a recent declaration by the Government of Angola on its willingness to resume the peace process, the United Nations Security Council today called on the rebel group UNITA to show that it "shares a similar position" in order to achieve national reconciliation, including through a general ceasefire.

Welcoming a recent declaration by the Government of Angola on its willingness to resume the peace process, the United Nations Security Council today called on the rebel group UNITA to show that it "shares a similar position" in order to achieve national reconciliation, including through a general ceasefire.

In a statement read out at a formal meeting by its President, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, the Council described the Government's 13 March communiqué as "a positive, constructive, and forward-looking approach to ending the conflict and resuming the process of national reconciliation."

The Council urged the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) "to recognize the historic nature of this opportunity to end the conflict with dignity, to give a clear, positive response to the Government's offer of peace, to implement fully the Lusaka Protocol and to re-enter political life."

Calling on the Government of Angola to ensure the transparency and credibility of the peace process, including by cooperating with the UN, the Council said it looked forward to discussions between the UN's Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, and the Government to clarify the UN's role.

The statement emphasized the active role that the UN was expected to play in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, in close cooperation with the Government of Angola, and noted the need to renew, and possibly redefine, by 15 April, the mandate of the UN Office in Angola (UNOA). The Council also declared its support for the full implementation of the Protocol, and its willingness to work with all the parties in that endeavour.

The Council said it stood ready to consider appropriate and specific exemptions from and amendments to the measures imposed by resolution 1127, which banned travel by all senior officials of UNITA and adult members of their immediate families.

The statement also underlined that the legitimacy of the peace process depended on a genuine role for, and full participation of, political parties and civil society without interference, as well as flexibility in approaching questions of national reconciliation.

Expressing concern about the grave humanitarian situation, especially for internally displaced persons, the Council called on the Government to accelerate "full and immediate access" to all those in need of assistance. In that context, it welcomed the decision by the Government to include relief help in its plans to extend territorial administration throughout the country, and said it expected the Government to cooperate fully through an agreed coordinating mechanism with the international donors in swiftly developing an effective humanitarian response, including demining activities.