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Angola faces critical security and humanitarian challenges, new UN envoy says

Angola faces critical security and humanitarian challenges, new UN envoy says

Just before heading to Angola to start work as the head of the new United Nations Mission in the country, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative today underscored the urgent security and humanitarian challenges facing the war-ravaged nation.

"The Angola peace process has reached a very critical stage," Ibrahim Gambari told reporters in New York. While noting that the Government and the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) were cooperating in implementing their peace accord, he stressed that "there are many issues and challenges ahead."

Calling the humanitarian situation "very critical," Mr. Gambari noted that more than a third of the internally displaced persons - estimated at about 30 per cent of the population - required emergency humanitarian assistance. UN agencies were seeking an additional $171 million to provide relief aid to Angola through the end of this year.

Mr. Gambari said the Angolan Government realized that even with the best of efforts on its part, the country would need substantial assistance from the international community not only for immediate humanitarian needs, but for long-term economic reconstruction and recovery. The Secretary-General, at the request of President Eduardo dos Santos, had agreed to help convene an international donors conference.

"It is important to organize it properly because there is no point in having an international donors conference for the sake of it," said the envoy. "You want substantial resources to do what is needed to transform Angola from a war economy to a peacetime economy and to facilitate economic and reconstruction recovery."