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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Angola: Peace Monitor, VI, 9

Angola: Peace Monitor, VI, 9
Date distributed (ymd): 000605
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains the latest issue of the Angola Peace Monitor, noting in particular delays in follow-up on implementation of new UN Security Council steps to enforce sanctions against UNITA. The posting also reports on a conference in South Africa on "conflict diamonds." Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.anc.org.za/angola

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA
Issue no.9, Vol. VI 24th May 2000

UN struggles to enforce sanctions against UNITA

Concern is growing about the huge amount of work needed to follow up the decisions of the UN Security Council, before it is due in November to consider further action against those breaking the embargoes placed on the rebel-movement UNITA. In particular, the group of experts due to look for further evidence of complicity in this sanctions busting has not yet been constituted, leaving just over four months for the experts to produce an authoritative report.

The UN Security Council on 18 April agreed action to crack down on violations of UN sanctions against Jonas Savimbi's UNITA. UN Security Council Resolution 1295 agreed a mechanism for monitoring and enforcing the sanctions, and called for the convening of expert conferences or workshops to help stem sanctions busting on arms and petroleum to UNITA, the sale of diamonds from UNITA, and to tighten financial sanctions against the rebels. The resolution also invited the Southern African Development Community, SADC, to take action to stop fuel in the region being diverted to UNITA (see APM no.8 vol. VI for a fuller report). The resolution followed the report of the Expert Panel discussed by the Security Council on 15 March, which detailed UNITA sanctions busting (see APM no.7 vol. VI for a precis of the report).

Various governments have forwarded names of experts they think should be part of the new UN monitoring mechanism, which will eventually be made up of five experts to collect information, investigate leads and verify information concerning sanctions busting. However, the experts will only have until 18 October 2000 to provide a written report to the Security Council. This report will be used as the basis for action against any member state found to have violated the mandatory international embargoes.

The Security Council has set a deadline of 18 November for an initial decision on action against transgressors; action they shied away from in April. It is not clear what further evidence they hope to receive by this date from the new monitoring mechanism.

The practical focus of action against sanctions busters is currently on two areas, Togo and diamonds.

SADC considers position on Togo

An immediate focus for follow-up from the Expert Panel is the growing confrontation over the Angolan government's call for fellow African states to take action against Togo.

The Fowler Report of the Expert Panel to the UN Security Council (see APM no.7 vol. VI) named President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo as one of the main supporters of Jonas Savimbi, helping him smuggle arms into Angola. It stated that following the fall of President Mobutu in Zaire, Eyadema became the primary supplier of end-user certificates for arms and military equipment for UNITA. It also reported that Togo gave refuelling facilities for smugglers flying into Angola, and that $5 million was given by Savimbi to Eyadema for safe keeping.

In July the Organisation of African Unity is due to meet in Togo, and to elect President Eyadema as Chair of the organisation. Angola has announced that it will boycott the meeting, and is calling for other African countries to do the same. Angola points out that the Fowler Report recommended that sanctions should be applied against leaders and countries who have deliberately broken sanctions against UNITA.

On 18 May, Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Miranda said in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, that his country expects, "the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) not to clash with or rebel against the resolutions of the United Nations".

Miranda was speaking after a meeting with Mozambican Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi to whom he reiterated that Angola will boycott the next OAU summit, scheduled for 10 and 12 July.

Mozambique is currently chair of SADC. Miranda raised the issue with Prime Minister Mocumbi, who stated that "Mozambique's reaction is that it is in solidarity with Angola, but Mozambique has regional responsibilities and will have to consult with other regional partners".

If SADC was to lead a boycott of the summit it might block the election of President Eyadema. However, it is unclear whether SADC will be able to find a common position.

Conference looks at conflict diamonds

An international conference on 11 - 12 May in South Africa brought together governments, industry and non-governmental organisations to take a close look at diamond production in conflict zones in Africa, and at the wider issues of strengthening economic development benefits in producer countries. The conference, held in Kimberley and convened by the South African Department of Minerals and Energy, can be seen as a reaction by diamond producers to pressure from campaign groups highlighting the role of illicit sales of rough diamonds in funding the military capacity of rebel groups such as UNITA in Angola.

The convenors succeeded in bringing together most of the key players including government and industry representatives from Namibia, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Angola, India, and both the Diamond High Council and the government of Belgium. Also present at the conference were the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US State Department. However, conspicuous by their absence were Israel and Russia. In a keynote address, Noe Baltazar of ASCORP outlined the Angolan governments new diamond regime.

It was reported by Reuters on 16 May that British Foreign Minister, Robin Cook, plans to push forward the recommendations of the conference during a meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister.

Despite sharp debate, particularly over whether technical methods of marking or identifying diamonds could play a useful role, some significant consensus emerged. There was agreement on the need for action to set up a global certification scheme to enable rough diamonds to be reliably tracked from mine to market.

It was also proposed that a working group of key stakeholders would be set up to take forward proposals from this technical conference to a ministerial level meeting, which was proposed to be held in July.

UNITA hits humanitarian aid

The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) have continued to make gains against Jonas Savimbi's military remnants.

Fighting has continued along the eastern border with Zambia, and there have been reports that this has spilled over into Zambian territory.

On 10 May Zambia's Minister of Defence, Chitalu Sampa, alleged that Angolan aircraft had violated Zambian airspace in the west and north-west of Zambia while pursuing UNITA troops. He also claimed that on 27 April Angolan troops had moved four kilometres into Zambia, where they clashed with Zambian troops, killing one and injuring three. He also claimed that there was another clash with Zambian troops on 23 April, twenty kilometres into Zambia at Nguvu.

There have previously been reports that the clashes with Zambian troops were in fact with UNITA fighters, but the Zambians clearly now believe that the Angolan forces are carrying out hot pursuit into Zambian territory.

The Angolan authorities had made a formal request to Zambia in April to allow FAA to carry out hot pursuit against UNITA bandits; a request that was refused. However, the lack of political will on the Zambian side to take action against UNITA bases inside Zambia has led to renewed accusations that senior political figures in Zambia are covertly supporting the rebels.

The Pan African News Agency reported on 18 May that the Angolan government has called for an urgent meeting of the joint military commission, which was set up to resolve military tensions between the two countries. The article states that the Angolan government has denied the claims against them, and in particular counter-claim that Zambian troops came into Angolan territory, leading to the clash in which one Zambian soldier died.

UNITA continues to claim victories on the battlefront, inflicting high casualties on FAA. It claims that on 8 May it killed 49 soldiers at Kuango barracks; on 6 May it killed 27 soldiers at Kwanda near Soyo; on 7 May it killed 19 soldiers at the border village of Luau; on 11 May it killed 32 soldiers at Kuemba; and on 12 May it killed 29 soldiers at Maria Teresa, near Katete.

The Angolan army has continued to keep news from the conflict under wraps, making it impossible to verify UNITA's claims. There is no further news concerning previous reports that a major attack on the UNITA base of Cazombo in the east of the country is imminent.

Humanitarian agencies targeted

Reports from international aid agencies confirm that UNITA has reverted to hit and run tactics, attacking convoys and laying mines. On 30 April a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy was attacked by UNITA. Four lorries carrying 50 tonnes of maize, beans, salt and cooking oil were ambushed near Cubal. Three of the trucks were destroyed. The convoy had been bringing vital food for the Catholic Relief Services kitchens at Cubal, which are feeding around 30,000 people who have been displaced by war.

This attack occurred as the World Food Programme warned that it is running out of basic goods.

On 12 May a shipment arrived of relief food worth $15 million donated by the European Union. A spokesperson for WFP told the UN's IRIN news agency that "donors such as the European Union are the life blood that will enable WFP to sustain our efforts against the danger of malnutrition and starvation. This donation will cover one month of maize rations for the 1,200,000 people currently registered to receive food from WFP".

However, the spokesperson warned that WFP had received less than half of its estimated needs as contained in the original appeal for the year 2000. It is now estimated that the number in need will rise to 1,500,000. He continued that "we need large donations immediately, otherwise we will run out of food by August".

This seems to be a real danger, with the WFP already planning to cut down on rations. The WFP's revised budgetary needs for Angola in 2000 is now $208 million.

Although part of the increased need is due to continued insecurity, the situation is worsened by the fact that many people did not plant their crops this year, and unfavourable rainfall exacerbated the problem. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, cereal production is likely to fall by 5% in the year 1999/2000. They conclude that in the year 2000/2001 the country will need 333,000 tonnes of food aid and 420,000 tonnes of commercial food imports.

A further limitation to the humanitarian relief effort is the costly need to fly in aid to cities such as Kuito, due to poor and insecure roads. However, even the airbridge to Kuito is under pressure, with the WFP only able to bring in five of the ten planes it needs every day to feed the 125,000 internally displaced people and the 140,000 residents. This is because the airstrip is in such poor condition that it is often closed for makeshift repairs.

Angolan government strengthens international links

The UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on African conflicts, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in Angola on 16 May, to discuss the formal opening of the UN Office in Angola (UNOA).

Among the issues raised during meetings with Angola's President and Foreign Minister were the exact role of the office, and who will take over as the UN Secretary General's Special Representative. He also discussed Angola's proposal to hold national elections next year.

A delegation from the World Bank arrived in Luanda in mid-May to follow up plans to fund a project to bring clean water and sanitation to the overcrowded capital. The project was given the green light in April with the formal agreement between Angola and the International Monetary Fund for a Staff Monitored Programme, which could lead to a full structural adjustment programme. It is expected that details of the agreement will become public shortly.

Another important international visitor to Angola during May will be Susan Rice, US President Bill Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. She will be taking part in the "US/Angola bilateral forum" which aims to improve relations between the two countries.

The United States has been increasing its presence in Angola. Recently it was announced that the US has granted half a million dollars to Norwegian People's Aid for demining projects in Angola. Priority will be given to Moxico province, which suffers from many landmine accidents.

Project to revitalise coffee production

Following the relatively successful military campaign by the Angolan army to push back UNITA, some efforts are being made to bring life back to the nation's economy.

The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) is supporting efforts to rehabilitate the coffee growing sector in Angola. It has helped develop a pilot project budgeted at $8 million which aims to divide old coffee plantations to provide land and sustainable income for up to a thousand families in a pilot project in Kwanza Sul province.

The Pilot Project entitled "Rehabilitation of Family Farms producing Robusta Coffee in Angola" is currently being submitted to the intergovernmental Common Fund for Commodities. When running, it will operate in the municipality of Amboim, which has a long tradition of coffee production and is regarded as safe, at least in relative terms. The project is expected to last three years in its first phase.

Historical background

By the time of liberation from Portugal in 1975, 596,000 hectares of land was under coffee production, with 2,000 coffee plantations - over seventy percent of these being larger than 100 hectares. Eighty five percent of coffee production was in the hands of settlers.

The coffee sector employed 190,000 people, which represented 6.3% of the active population. Of these 60,000 were peasants farming small fields.

The coffee plantations were extremely profitable, and made enormous payments to the colonial administration and the Coffee Institute of Angola's "coffee diversification fund". These high rates of profit were based on plantation owners entering into contracts with the Portuguese colonial administration which provided them with contract labour (akin to slave labour). In general local people did not work on the plantations.

Angola's coffee was predominantly an export product, with more than half exported to the United States.

Coffee has suffered from a relative decline in price, common amongst many primary products. Coffee prices received by the small peasants were even further deflated by the excessive system of small traders and middlemen, who left the peasants with little to show for their work.

Present day

In 1972/73 coffee production reached 4 million bags, making Angola the fourth largest producer in the world. Currently, Angola only produces 64,000 bags, barely enough to cover domestic demand. Apart from the fact that plantations were abandoned by their owners around the time of liberation, many thousands of contract workers spontaneously left the plantations for home following the breaking of their contractual chains by the revolution. While the international cartel of the 1970's has been dismantled, recent action to restrict production by coffee producers and growing global demand is expected to lead to some increase in prices - at least for Arabica beans. Project aims

The overall aim of the project is to create an economically sustainable model of coffee production that can be transferred to other ex-coffee plantations in Angola, and even to other countries. Its wider aim is for a replicable model which can be transferred to other projects in Angola and elsewhere.

The project will take over plantations in the locality that have suffered degradation. Each of the thousand families will be given 2 hectares of land for coffee production and 1.5 hectares for food crops. At the beginning of the project, families will be given food in exchange for labour. Tools and other resources will be given, along with agro-technical support and marketing support.

The $8 million project is to be funded from several sources, including the Common Fund for Commodities, and the governmental Instituto Nacional de Caf de Angola (INCA) and other donors.

Coffee nurseries will be established to produce seedlings for planting. The density of plants will be dramatically increased and improved growing techniques aim to increase yields to 350 kg/ha of green coffee by year three. It is hoped that by the seventh year there will be yields of 800 kg/ha.

There has been great stress in the proposal for the production of high quality beans. With fierce competition in the world coffee market, and with the price of Robusta coffee currently depressed, quality is seen as being the route to sustainability.


The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa. ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA; e-mail actsa@geo2.poptel.org.uk; fax +44 20 7837 3001 telephone +44 20 7833 3133


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and human and cultural rights.

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