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As UN mission ends, envoy pledges continued support for Angola's reconstruction

As UN mission ends, envoy pledges continued support for Angola's reconstruction

With the United Nations having wrapped up its latest mission in Angola, the world body will continue to support the war-riven nation in its efforts at consolidating peace, according to the top UN envoy in that country.

Ibrahim Gambari, head of the UN Mission in Angola (UNMA), said that as the country moves in transition from emergency to recovery and reconstruction, the UN is handing back all the responsibility for the "residue tasks" to its development and humanitarian groups, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr. Gambari also noted that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is currently considering ways to strengthen the Office of the Resident Coordinator in order to focus on those issues that remain germane to national and international efforts to further consolidate peace in Angola. "All these steps are aimed at establishing a new partnership between Angola and the United Nations," he said.

Since the expiration of UNMA's mandate on 15 February, Mr. Gambari has spent the past 10 days in the capital, Luanda, winding-up the Mission, preparing the follow-up UN structure and meeting with representatives from the government, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and civil society. He also met yesterday with Prime Minister Fernando Dias dos Santos.

"Fortunately, Angola is exceptionally endowed with the resources that could transform, it, within a relatively short period, into an economic powerhouse, as well as the fulcrum of stability in the sub-region and even the African continent as a whole," Mr. Gambari said. "Its experiences in conflict resolution and post-conflict building would also provide valuable lessons for the rest of the world."