Humanitarian assistance tops agenda of UN envoy's discussions in Angola

Humanitarian assistance tops agenda of UN envoy's discussions in Angola

The search for new ways to provide increased humanitarian assistance to Angolans in need dominated discussions today between the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, and senior Angolan government officials, according to a United Nations spokesman.


Mr. Gambari - currently in Angola as head of a 16-person UN mission to assess how the world body can better support that country's peace process - met yesterday with the Angolan Minister of External Relations, Joao Bernardo de Miranda and other senior Angolan officials, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

He also held discussions with the national commission charged with coordinating the Government's efforts for social reintegration of troops demobilized as a result of the recent peace accords.

The Secretary-General's envoy also discussed the logistics of the UN's role in providing military observers to verify Government and rebel-group UNITA's compliance with the peace accords, and other matters aimed at assisting the country towards normalcy.

The priority in this present phase of the peace process is overcoming the humanitarian crisis, according to a note released by Mr. Gambari's office, which described as "particularly worrying" the conditions faced by the 800,000 Angolans in areas that have only recently become accessible to aid agencies and the Government.

At the same time, Mr. Gambari's office emphasized that the humanitarian crisis had seriously stretched the resources of UN agencies and their humanitarian partners. "The Angolan authorities need some serious help, especially in transport facilities, blankets, medicines and first aid items," the note said.

The findings from Mr. Gambari's mission will be incorporated into the Secretary-General's report to the Security Council, which will include recommendations on how to adjust the mandate of the UN operation in Angola and how to restructure the overall UN presence in the country.