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In Angola, Annan pledges humanitarian aid, UN backing for peace process

In Angola, Annan pledges humanitarian aid, UN backing for peace process

Annan and wife Nane visit Angolan camp
Wrapping up an official visit to Angola, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledged, in talks with government leaders and representatives of the former rebel group UNITA, desperately needed humanitarian aid as well as UN support for the country's peace process.

As evidence of the international community's commitment to Angola, the Secretary-General said on Monday, the Security Council has authorized a new UN mission in the country with a mandate broad enough to play a significant role in helping to consolidate peace.

"Our partnership has the potential to transform Angola's future, and set an example of peace, stability and prosperity for this troubled part of Africa and indeed for the whole world," he said in a toast at a banquet in his honour hosted last night by President José Eduardo dos Santos.

In his remarks at the dinner, the Secretary-General discussed Angola's humanitarian crisis, including mass displacement, the problems caused by land mines, the need to demobilize former combatants, and the enormous challenge of rebuilding the country.

"I am encouraged by your plans to hold general elections within the next two years, and believe the most inclusive approach will yield the best results," he told the audience, adding that the UN stood ready to help in that effort.

Earlier Monday, the Secretary-General met with the leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), General Paulo Lukamba Gato, who thanked the UN for its humanitarian assistance and asked for the Security Council to lift the sanctions now in place against the group.

The Secretary-General said he would bring the issue to the Council's attention and pledged continued UN assistance, particularly in dealing with internally displaced persons and demining.