Annan proposes new UN mission to consolidate peace in Angola

Annan proposes new UN mission to consolidate peace in Angola

Aiming to seize the current opportunity for lasting peace in Angola, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed the creation of a new United Nations mission for the country, according to a report released today at UN Headquarters in New York.

"Although the people of Angola have gone through great suffering during three decades of civil war, it is encouraging to note that the prospects for long-term peace are better today than at any time before," writes Mr. Annan in his report to the Security Council. Noting that both the Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) have taken responsibility for managing the peace process, he says the two parties "will need the active support of the international community to overcome the political, security, humanitarian and socio-economic challenges and to consolidate peace in the country."

Given the important role of the UN - which from 1988 to 1999 fielded four different peacekeeping operations in Angola - the Security Council should consider establishing a new mission to take on the "complex and difficult" tasks assigned to the world body under agreements reached between the two sides.

The report proposes that the UN Mission in Angola, to be known by the acronym UNMA, be divided into two components, one dealing with political, military and human rights work and the other devoted to humanitarian concerns, economic recovery and development. Mr. Annan suggests that UNMA be established for an initial six-month period starting in mid-August, but cautions that more time might be required to finish the process of demobilization and reintegration, and national reconciliation.

Among other responsibilities, the mission would be tasked with providing a liaison between the parties, observing the demobilization and reintegration process, assisting in the development of programmes to consolidate peace, and helping to build institutions in support of the rule of law while fostering the promotion and protection of human rights.

The new mission would need an increase in UN military personnel over those currently stationed in Angola, including up to 11 military liaison officers already approved by the Council, according to the report. Several political affairs officers, modest interpretation facilities, 16 additional human rights officers and a child protection adviser would also be required. In addition, the overall logistical and administrative capacity of the current UN Office in Angola would have to be augmented through additional equipment and personnel.

Above all, the Secretary-General calls attention to the importance of responding to the dire humanitarian plight of 3 million Angolans who rely on assistance to survive. "Significant additional resources will be urgently required from donors if the humanitarian organizations are to address the needs of vulnerable populations in an adequate manner," he states.