Angola: UN office's mandate extended for more talks on future UN role in country

Angola: UN office's mandate extended for more talks on future UN role in country

Following recent dramatic changes in Angola, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended extending the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) until mid-July in order to give it more time for further talks with the Government and the rebel group UNITA on the UN's future role in the country.

The Secretary-General made the recommendation in a letter to the President of the Security Council, who informed Mr. Annan of the Council members' agreement with the proposal. The exchange of letters was made public today at UN Headquarters in New York.

In his letter, Mr. Annan says that he intends to submit a comprehensive report to the Council containing recommendations on the UN's future role in Angola and the resources and structures required to support it. The document will be based on the information provided by the Secretary-General's Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim A. Gambari, who has been engaged in a series of talks in Luanda with the Angolan parties on the latest phase of the peace process and the UN role. Mr. Gambari is expected to conclude those discussions on 20 April before returning to New York to brief the Council on 23 April.

Earlier this month, the Chiefs of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding paving the way for a general ceasefire. Mr. Gambari represented the Secretary-General at the 4 April signing ceremony and initialled the Memorandum as a witness along with representatives of the Troika - Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States.

According to the Memorandum, the UN is expected to provide military observers, and technical and material support, as well as technical expertise to the quartering, demilitarization and reintegration of UNITA military forces.

The UN also has been asked to provide initial emergency assistance to the families of demobilized troops and to help in the quartering, disarming and repatriation of foreign troops.