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Date distributed (ymd): 000731
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
This posting contains a report by the UN's Integrated Regional
Information Service, as well as excerpts from the 26 July issue of
the Angola Peace Monitor. The reports highlight the continuation of
war, the underfunding of humanitarian relief efforts, and a churchsponsored
peace congress in Luanda attended by over 200 people,
including representatives of the government, legal opposition
parties and civil society as well as churches. For additional
updates see the Peace Monitor archives
(http://www.anc.org.za/angola) and the Angola Peace Action Network
updates from Canada's Inter-Church Coalition on Africa
ANGOLA: IRIN Focus on peace meeting
[The material contained here is from IRIN, a UN humanitarian
information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the
United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or
re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and
LUANDA, 21 July (IRIN) - A Church-sponsored Congress for Peace
opened this week in Luanda. While it may not bring an immediate end
to the Angolan conflict, most participants agreed that the four-day
meeting has taken the country one step closer to peace. The
Congress, a Catholic church initiative which began on Tuesday,
uniquely brought together civil society groups, a wide
cross-section of church members, opposition politicians and
officials from the governing MPLA party.
A unique event
"For the first time in the last 40 years, we have a congress and a
debate that has broken the tradition of big problems being
discussed by only the MPLA and UNITA," said Jaka Jamba, a UNITA
politician and second vice president of the National Assembly.
Eleven speeches covered a range of issues deemed crucial to bring
peace to Angola. Democracy, Christianity, tolerance, human rights,
journalism and the psychology of aggression were among the subjects
explored and discussed. According to Fernando Macedo, a human
rights activist and consultant for the US organisation, World
Learning, the fact that the government permitted a debate about
peace to take place in Angola reveals an important shift in
"Two years ago," said Macedo, "it was a kind of crime to
speak and to pronounce the word 'peace'. Today, people here are
losing fear. We are stating publicly that we want peace. This is a
Even some of the MPLA party's strongest critics seemed enthused by
the Congress and the notable participation of the government.
"The government is listening," said Abel Chivukuvuku, an
independent UNITA politician. "We should prioritise the fact that
the government is here even if there are still individuals in the
government who are against this initiative."
The official government line nevertheless remains in favour of a
military solution to UNITA's insurgency. Lately, tension between
the Catholic church and the government has increased. This seemed
evident last month when the MPLA secretary-general, Joao Lourenco,
described advocates of peace and dialogue as "false prophets". On
Tuesday, an editorial in the state-owned newspaper, 'Jornal de
Angola', also appeared to criticise the initiative of the Catholic
church and other peace movements.
"The government has been left with no alternative: Either it would
make war or it would passively witness the collapse of an entire
nation," the editorial stated. "If sectors of civil society are
today gathering around a peace movement, that's because Angola's
Armed Forces' military campaign positively altered the correlation
of forces at a military level."
On Thursday, a debate in the National Assembly about the military
situation concluded that the government's military option is still
necessary, despite the alternative of dialogue proposed by the
on-going Congress. Some participants at the peace meeting believed
this revealed that to some extent, the Congress had failed.
"The position the government took yesterday is that the end of the
war is close and therefore, it is necessary to continue with the
war to end the war," said Luis do Nascimento, lawyer and secretary
general of the opposition party, the Front for Democracy (FpD).
"Given that position, we can think that the Congress did not
The government's view
Angola's minister for education and culture, Antonio Burity da
Silva Neto, stressed that the government has done all it can to end
the war with rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. He referred to a speech
made last month by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in which the
head of state admitted the possibility of pardoning Savimbi.
"If you put out a hand to pardon and if the man [Savimbi] does not
correspond, what should I think?" the minister said. "We've already
explored all types of dialogue and negotiations. Sometimes, we've
felt we've arrived at the finish. But there is always someone who
breaks this understanding."
Da Silva, who represented President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
throughout the Congress for Peace, nevertheless said he had enjoyed
the four-day meeting and that the government has participated
openly and willingly.
"We are here to help the Congress. The people are speaking and we
are also listening to what they are saying," he explained. "What I
have learned is what is my doctrine - that we must love each other,
that we can live in harmony and that we must really end this war."
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA
Issue no.11, Vol. VI, 26th July 2000
Note: excerpts only; for full text see http://www.anc.org.za/angola
[The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action
for Southern Africa. ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org, fax +44 20 7837 3001, telephone +44 20
Angolan army advances
The Angolan army, FAA, have made further territorial gains against
Jonas Savimbi's rebel movement - UNITA. The government now claims
to control 92 percent of Angola's 157 districts, including eleven
of the thirteen districts in the two main diamond producing
provinces of Lunda Sul and Lunda Norte.
UNITA is left in control of about a dozen districts, including
Cazombo in Moxico province, although military sources suggest that
the area is almost deserted. According to the United Nations, UNITA
has its mobile command headquarters in Quirima and Sautar in
Malange province. In Lunda Norte UNITA are reported to be hanging
on to the districts of Lubalo and Cuilo, on the border with the
Democratic Republic of Congo. However, an interview with UNITA
deserters carried by the Angolan news agency, ANGOP, states that in
the Lundas it is very difficult for UNITA to get fuel for the
extraction of diamonds.
In Bie province, the UNITA stronghold of Cuemba fell to FAA at the
end of June. Cuemba had been under UNITA control for twelve years,
and it is here that many of Savimbi's troops retreated to after the
fall of Andulo and Bailundo in September 1999. The capture of
Cuemba is one of the central goals of FAA's "Operation Hexagon".
The army's 5th Brigade launched its attack from the government held
city of Luena, and fought UNITA along the main highway westwards,
capturing Chicala, Cangumbe and Cangonga. Another major battle took
place at Munhango, and from there UNITA was chased to Cuemba, where
the rebels suffered heavy casualties.
The "control" the government has over 92 percent of districts does
not infer normality in all these areas. In many cases it means that
either the army or police have control of the district towns, and
most of the surrounding area - at least during the day. Many
districts recently recaptured do not yet have a civilian
administrator, and are almost like occupied territories. There has
been criticism of human rights abuses by the army and police in
newly retaken towns. However, the latest report to the United
Nations Security Council by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan
(S/2000/678), states that the police have improved their human
rights record recently (whilst he still warns of reports of
continued individual acts of abuse). ...
The danger still posed by Jonas Savimbi should not be
underestimated. There continues to be attacks in much of the
country, including within areas considered to be Government
The UN's humanitarian arm, OCHA, warned recently that the security
situation remained unstable in seven of Angola's 18 provinces,
namely Kwanza Norte, Uige, Huambo, Kuito, Cuando Cubango, Moxico
and Lunda Sul. The report warned that "guerrilla activities
continue, with armed rebels attacking towns and villages in several
provinces. The location and timing of the attacks, which often
include looting, physical assaults and destruction of crops and
homes are unpredictable". ...
UN panel to monitor sanctions
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appointed a panel of experts to
carry out further investigations into violations of sanctions
against UNITA. The panel is to be given six months to investigate
further into allegations raised by the first panel of experts (see
APM no.7 vol.VI).
The idea of setting up a follow-on panel was agreed by the UN
Security Council in April, and it was supposed to report by 18
October. However, internal wrangling over who to appoint led to the
long delay in establishing the panel including a fierce campaign by
France behind the scenes against proposed members they felt might
be too critical of some Francophone countries involved in sanctions
busting. The delay has raised the fear that many of the previous
leads may now have gone cold.
The panel is to be chaired by Juan Larrain of Chile, and also
comprises of Christine Gordon of Britain; James Manzou of Zimbabwe;
Ismail Sekh of Senegal and Lena Sundh of Sweden. ...
Humanitarian situation deteriorates
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs, OCHA, has published a mid-term review for Angola, which
warns that the overall situation in the country remains precarious,
and aid resources are running scarce.
It warns that two million people are relying on food aid, and that
in coming months this number may rise to 2.75 million. In addition,
the country faces a structural emergency, with a breakdown in
social services that jeopardise heath and education of vulnerable
The report estimates that there are 2.5 million internally
displaced people in Angola, 20 percent of the population, and of
these more than 217,500 had been displaced since the beginning of
the year. On a positive note, 32,800 people had returned home in
Bie, Kwanza Norte, Huila and Lunda Sul provinces.
The report explains that road links between provincial capitals
remain insecure in the central and eastern parts of the country and
that more than 70 percent of all humanitarian assistance is
currently transported by air because of restricted road routes.
This raises the twin problems for delivering humanitarian aid of
high delivery costs and delays due to airstrip closures for
OCHA said in an effort to "minimise hardship" during the lean
months of September and October, the World Food Programme has
reduced by a fifth the number of people receiving direct food aid
assistance in June and July.
The UN agency notes that in partnership with the government, a
campaign to distribute agricultural inputs is to start in September
The report warns that health remains the most under-funded sector
in the humanitarian programme. Hospitals and health posts are
under-staffed, under-funded and in need of basic equipment, with
malaria, diarrhoea and tuberculosis prevalent throughout the
OCHA warned that the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the
year 2000 had so far only received 40 percent of requirements,
leading to projects being abandoned. Only three of the 29 projects
submitted by UN agencies had been fully funded. As a result, 14
projects are being dropped altogether.
As of June, the World Food Programme had received just 44 percent
of its request for $203,738,561, leading to fears that by September
there may be a breakdown in the food pipeline. OCHA received 43.8
percent of the $5,712,680 it had requested; UNICEF received 27
percent of $21,727,000; WHO received 61 percent of $1,387,540; Food
and Agriculture Organisation received 10.5 percent of $10,366,000.
United Nations Development Programme 1.4 percent of $4,250,642; and
UN Fund for Population Activities received 9.6 percent of
UNHCR launch appeal
The OCHA report was released just before the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees on 20 July launched an appeal for $8.4
million for and emergency assistance programme for Angola. The
UNHCR plans to concentrate in Uige, Zaire and Luanda where 300,000
people have fled the war.
The UNHCR project will prioritise basic health and nutrition (US$
815,000), water and sanitation (US$ 710,040), shelter (US$
411,875), essential household materials (US$ 691,000), transport
and logistics (US$ 1.6 million), and is to last six months. The
appeal follows a UNHCR assessment mission to Uige, Zaire and Luanda
UNHCR's program will gradually shift to long-term activities, such
as strengthening local capacity-building, education, training and
some income-generating projects.
UNHCR's current work in Angola has been severely affected by the
hit and run attacks of UNITA. On 28 June Kris Janowski of UNHCR
said that operations were practically suspended in northern Angola
due to the grave security situation. The situation was particularly
bad in Uige province, where UNITA had made the road between Negage
and Uige impassable.
The air corridor was the only safe route to the region, and Uige
airport is closed. According to the Air Navigation Company, ENANA,
on 21 July, the runway at Uige is in an advanced state of
degradation after 31 years without repair. As a result, flights
were going in to Negage, 40 km away. However, the road between the
cities was not safe. ...
Diamond industry to clean up act
In what is being seen as a major victory for campaigners against
conflict diamonds, international diamond industry has agreed to
take steps to ensure that in future diamonds will not fund groups
trying to overthrow legitimate governments and breach sanctions,
such as UNITA.
At the World Diamond Congress, which took place in Antwerp from 17
to 19 July, the International Diamond Manufacturers' Association
and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses agreed to establish a
system of certificates of origin to identify the provenance of
Two key figures central to efforts to crack down on UNITA's diamond
smuggling, Britain's Minister of State at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, Peter Hain, and Canada's Ambassador to the
United Nations, Robert Fowler, spoke at the conference.
The agreement states that anyone trading in illicit diamonds will
be expelled from the industry, and that any country knowingly
involved in smuggling will lose its export accreditation.
Under the proposals, all rough diamonds are to be exported in
sealed packages certified by the authorities in the exporting
nations and verified by a new international diamond council, made
up of governments, industry and non-governmental organisations.
In response to the agreement, a group of non-governmental
organisations present at the congress, including Action for
Southern Africa, released a joint statement welcoming the proposals
for reform, noting that these proposals will go a long way to
meeting many of the concerns about conflict diamonds.
However, the groups warn that there is still much to be done, and
called for definitive progress on establishing working mechanisms
by mid-September. The international certification mechanism has
still to be established and the necessary regulations enacted by
governments, along with the independent monitoring of the
international flow of diamonds.
Complementary steps underway
After the Antwerp meeting, a working group of senior government
representatives of key diamond producing and trading nations met at
Lancaster House in London on 20 July, as a follow up to the
conference that took place in Kimberley, South Africa in May (see
APM no.9 vol.VI). The meeting was chaired by the South African
Department of Minerals and Energy and was attended by, amongst
others, Angola's Vice-Minister of Mines, Carlos Sumbula.
The meeting achieved further progress in developing measures of
government regulation to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds, but
resistance to genuinely comprehensive measures by some countries
means that further work will need to be undertaken to finalise
proposals to be considered by a ministerial meeting planned for
September in South Africa.
World Bank approves credit
In another step towards more regularised access to the world's
financial institutions, the Angolan government has been given the
go-ahead to borrow money for social development. The World Bank has
approved a credit line worth $33 million to be channelled through
the International Development Agency (IDA) for the implementation
of the second project of the Fund for Social Support (FAS). The
fund was set up in October 1994 and is implemented by an autonomous
governmental agency. Its aim is to combat poverty and social
exclusion, through integrating the poorest populations into the
process of reconstruction and socio-economic development.
FAS currently operates in the provinces of Cabinda, Luanda, Bengo,
Kwanza-Sul, Benguela, Huila, Huambo, Namibe, Bie and Cunene, in the
construction and rehabilitation of schools, health posts, wells and
According to the World Bank the new project will be a follow-on of
an earlier project which helped over one million poor people in
Angola. The government and other donors will finance the project
with an additional $14 million.
Clean water project
The standing commission of Angola's council of ministers at the end
of June authorised a $54 million project for the second phase of
the water supply project for the south west of Luanda. Water has
not been pumped to these outskirts of Luanda for over 20 years.
The first phase of this project is due to be completed in August,
producing over 200,000 cubic metres of treated water for about
600,000 people living mainly in the Neves Bendinhas and Terra Nova
suburbs, as well as improving the supply to the city centre.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
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