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Further support needed to consolidate peace, reconciliation in Angola - UN envoy

Further support needed to consolidate peace, reconciliation in Angola - UN envoy

Ibrahim Gambari
Despite enormous progress in the peace process, much remains to be done by the people of Angola and the international community to consolidate peace and enhance national reconciliation, reconstruction and development, the top United Nations envoy in the country told the Security Council today in New York.

In an open briefing to the Council, Ibrahim Gambari said that in the four months since the UN Mission in Angola (UNMA) began, it has "successfully initiated activity in nearly all the areas mandated to it," including the conclusion of the work of the Joint Commission, participating as an observer in the military commission, assisting in the coordination of the provision of humanitarian assistance, promoting human rights and working directly with the Angolan government on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) issues.

However, the overall humanitarian situation in Angola remains extremely difficult, Mr. Gambari cautioned, although there has been progress in food delivery, health care and water and sanitation. He reiterated that the international community needs to "redouble its efforts" to address resettlement, demobilization and electoral assistance issues. The Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2003 requesting some $384 million in assistance was most likely the last such appeal for Angola, he added.

A tentative date for a donor conference had been set for the first quarter of 2003 and would take place in Brussels, Mr. Gambari noted. The meeting should be properly prepared and the pre-requisites for a successful outcome should be met. That would include an effort on the part of the Government in order to allay any concerns the donor community might have on the allocation and spending of national revenues.

In a report to the Security Council released yesterday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that humanitarian activities have been expanding dramatically in the country - with the UN now helping 1.8 million Angolans, a larger number than at any time during the 27-year war - but the overall situation remains "extremely difficult."

Earlier this year, Angola recorded a drop in the percentage of people suffering from life-threatening shortfalls of food and medicine, but since the influx of more than 700,000 internally displaced people, malnutrition levels have since increased.

The Secretary-General also warned that efforts to help some 80,000 ex-combatants and their 300,000 dependants, as well as about 4 million internally displaced people, constitutes an "unprecedented challenge" for Angola.