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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
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Angola: UN Peacekeeping Vote
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Angola: UN Peacekeeping Vote
Date Distributed (ymd): 950201
WASHINGTON OFFICE ON AFRICA
CRITICAL UN VOTE ON ANGOLA PEACEKEEPING NEEDS U.S.
February 1, 1995
The Angolan peace process, two and a half months after
last November's peace treaty, is at a critical stage. On
February 8 the United Nations Security Council will vote
on a new peacekeeping mandate (UNAVEM III), which would
involve expansion of the UN peacekeeping forces to some
7,000 troops at an estimated cost of $300 million.
Although the cease-fire has recently been holding,
provisions of the treaty such as demobilization are
delayed pending arrival of the larger UN force. The
Clinton administration and key congressional leaders have
favored the expanded force. But the new climate in
Congress, plus continued ambivalence on the peace treaty
by Unita leader Jonas Savimbi, have raised doubts about
the U.S. position.
**The Clinton administration needs to be urged to stand
firm in support for the expanded UN presence in Angola.
Key Republican leaders in Congress need to be urged not
to let budget-cutting zeal and anti-UN sentiments
endanger the chances for sustainable peace in Angola. The
U.S. is not being asked to commit troops, and the Angolan
government has pledged to pay $65 million, a substantial
share of the costs of the UN operation. The rapid
deployment of peacekeepers is essential to alleviate
continued insecurity in Angola and avoid resurgence of
The projected U.S. financial obligation for the UNAVEM
III operation is $100 million, as compared with an
estimated $240 million of covert U.S. expenditures on
military subsidies for Unita from 1986 through 1992. U.S.
oil companies have approximately $5 billion of
investments in Angola.
The war in Angola resumed in late 1992 when Unita leader
Jonas Savimbi refused to accept his election defeat by
President Jos‚ Eduardo dos Santos of the incumbent MPLA.
An estimated 1,000 people a day were dying from war-
related causes in 1993; despite somewhat reduced levels
of conflict in 1994, casualties were still high. Even in
the capital Luanda, which did not come under direct
attack, the swollen population of over two million is
afflicted by water shortages, cholera and rampant
inflation leaving hundreds of thousands on the edge of
Over two million of Angola's eleven million people are
dependent on international relief for survival. Fighting
continued in some areas after the November 22 cease-fire.
Scattered incidents still threaten to touch off new
larger confrontations and make delivery of relief
supplies precarious. Cereal production was down in both
1993 and 1994. UN and non-governmental relief supplies
are now reaching most sites in the interior, but food
supplies are barely sufficient to avert starvation.
Clothes, blankets, medicines are all in short supply.
If the peace treaty holds, the World Food Program
estimates, the number of Angolans needing food aid could
be cut to only 1.2 million people. If it does not,
farmers will not be able to plant and the food situation
will again worsen. Over eight million mines litter the
countryside. There are new plans underway to step up mine
clearing. But even with peace it will be a long process.
Angola had a brief interlude of peace, beginning in May
1991, when the Angolan government and Unita signed a
first peace agreement providing for demobilization of the
two armies and multi-party elections. Elections held in
September 1992 were judged free and fair by international
observers. The MPLA won 54% of the legislative seats, as
compared with 34% for Unita. President dos Santos fell
just short of 50% in the presidential race, compared with
40% for Unita leader Savimbi. Savimbi refused to accept
the results, choosing instead to return to war. Unita
launched a series of offensives around the country in
October 1992, benefitting from the fact that it had
systematically violated the peace agreement by not
demobilizing its troops. It relied on diamonds smuggled
from northeastern Angola to pay for supplies brought in
through Zaire or from South Africa.
The international community was slow to respond. In May
1993, the United States finally recognized the Angolan
government, and in September the UN Security Council
imposed an oil and fuel embargo on Unita. New peace talks
began in Lusaka in November 1993. A year later, after
many delays, they resulted in a new peace treaty, with
agreement on procedures for troop demobilization, a
second round of presidential elections, and a specified
share of ministries and provincial governorships for
In the months preceding the cease-fire, the Angolan
government army made significant advances, while Unita's
access to outside arms declined after installation of the
newly elected government of South Africa in May. Unita
headquarters city Huambo was taken just before the cease-
fire went into effect in late November. Significant but
reduced military confrontations continued after the
cease-fire. Since an early January meeting between chiefs
of staff of the government and Unita armies, only minor
incidents have been reported.
The establishment of security through full implementation
of the peace process is an essential prerequisite for the
Angolan government and emerging civil society to address
the multiple problems facing their country (see attached
memo from the Media Institute of Southern Africa for one
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
In a letter to President Clinton last November, a
bipartisan group of Members of Congress, including
Republican Rep. Benjamin Gilman and Senator Jesse Helms,
urged U.S. support for mobilizing and deploying UN
peacekeepers in Angola. Legislation introduced by the
Republicans in January, however, would impose strict
limits on U.S. funding for U.S. peacekeeping across the
board. Both the administration and key legislators need
to hear that there is support for an expanded UN presence
in Angola, and that the U.S. should pay its share.
National Security Advisor
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Senator Jesse Helms
Chair, Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Rep. Benjamin Gilman, Chair, International Relations
Committee, U. S. House
Washington, DC 20515
Send copies or similar letters to:
Senator Nancy Kassebaum
Chair, Africa Subcommittee
Washington, DC 20510
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Chair, Africa Subcommittee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Sorry, no email addresses available for these Members of
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Communique, January 19, 1995
ANGOLAN JOURNALIST MURDERED
Ricardo De Mello, Director of the privately-owned daily
newsletter "ImparcialFax", has been gunned down by an
unidentified assassin outside his home. De Mello, 38,
was shot in the early hours of Wednesday (January 18) on
the stairs leading to his apartment in the capital
Luanda. His body was discovered at about 06:00 by a
child, who alerted the editor's wife, Arminda Mateus, who
also writes for ImpacialFax.
Mateus said money and identification papers were still in
her husband's pockets when she found his corpse. "It's
clear it (De Mello's murder) was a political crime," says
Mateus. "We have been persecuted all the time...even
myself and our son have been threatened. The military
people warned us yesterday (Tuesday January 17) that my
husband had to stop publishing stories concerning them
and the war. Those in Government circles have considered
us a threat because of our (ImpacialFax's) independent
De Mello launched ImparcialFax - a news bulletin
published five times a week and distributed via fax to
subscribers - in February 1994, and the publication soon
earned a reputation for running stories which few others
dared to published in the all-pervading atmosphere of
censorship and fear which has increasingly enveloped the
Angolan media during 20 years of civil war.
Although De Mello was well-connected with the ruling
MPLA, ImparcialFax's journalism made him unpopular with
hard liners within the party, the police and military in
particular. On September 20 1994, ImparcialFax reporter
Mariano Costa was arrested at Luanda airport by
government security agents and detained for 28 hours
without charge, during which time the journalist was
interrogated about stories he had written about the UNITA
rebel movement. Pressure on De Mello and his staff
increased the following month after ImparcialFax
published details of secret military documents outlining
an army psychological warfare campaign.
According to MISA's representative in Angola, Wednesday's
edition of ImparcialFax said in a short, front-page
editorial: "The truth can't die. The murder of Ricardo De
Mello is a death of the (Angola's) new-born democracy".
-- David Lush Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Private Bag 13386, Windhoek, Namibia e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +264 61 232975 Fax. +264 61 248016
Translated excerpts from article in government-owned
Jornal de Angola, Jan. 19, 1995
INDIGNATION AND CONSTERNATION
The Angolan Ministry of Social Communications
"vigorously" condemned the assassination of director
Ricardo de Mello. It was with profound sorrow that we
learned of the death of the director of Imparcial Fax,
Ricardo de Mello. "An act that we vigorously condemn"
said Minister Hendrick Vaal Neto.
In a communication, the Minister "requested that the
appropriate authorities pursue the investigation with all
the clarity and rigor that they can muster.
The secretary of the MPLA [majority party in the
government] also joined the movement of solidarity and
consternation. A communication released last night by the
MPLA said that "in spite of not agreeing with the
editorial line of this publication, one could not be
alien to what happened to undermine the climate of
peace". The MPLA insisted "that the appropriate
authorities must assume the serious responsibility of
investigating, discovering and punishing the true authors
of this action, so that this can not serve to encourage
the continuation of instability." The identical position
was expressed by the directorate of Agency Angola
The Syndicate of Angolan Journalists (SJA) and the Union
of Journalists (UJA) equally expressed their repulsion.
The SJA said that "the crime occurred in the wake of
threats, psychological pressure and aggression against
journalists that have rejected with dignity, to serve as
simple sounding boards of the established powers". The
UJA on its side, stated " a rapid and transparent
judicial enquiry should be pursued to appoint the civil
and criminal blame on the authors of the crime." The
directorate of the Radio as well manifests its revulsion
and grief. The Angolan Association of Human Rights, as
well moved by the barbarous act, " called upon the civic
and moral consciences of Angolan Parliamentarians to
aside from the political investigation open an
parliamentary investigation into the real circumstances
in which the assassination occurred, with the objective
of reestablishing the conditions which guarantee the
exercising of freedom of the press in the country".
The collective of "Jornal de Angola" is profoundly
shocked by the barbarity, and manifests its revulsion and
presents condolences to the bereaved family.
The FpD (political party) said "without any doubt this
terrible act, is a selective political crime designed by
persons of the prevailing institutionalized
On its part, the Angolan Socialist Party (PSA) expressed
"profound consternation and revulsion" on the violent
death of the director of the journal "Impartial Fax" and
appeals to the National Police for an "honest,
transparent and thorough inquiry". "Those responsible,
are judged by the people and by history", underlined the
document, and further put forward that Ricardo Mello was
an "illustrious democrat and tireless campaigner".
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