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Note: 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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, III, 12

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 12
Date distributed (ymd): 970904
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents: UN votes new sanctions on UNITA to go into effect in one month.
Increased threat of renewed war in Angola as UNITA mobilizes instead of demobilizing.


Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign

Issue no.12, Vol III 29 August 1997

United Nations impose sanctions as UNITA prepares for war

The United Nations has finally lost patience with the rebel movement, UNITA, and imposed mandatory sanctions which will begin on 30 September, unless the rebel movement demobilises its military forces and cooperates in the extension of State control to areas it currently occupies.

The United Nations Security Council on 28 August adopted resolution 1127, which strongly deplores UNITA's failure to comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, the agreement signed in 1994 - just over a thousand days ago - which underpins the peace process in Angola.

The sanctions to be brought in include travel and residency restrictions on senior UNITA members, except for those UNITA members on official business of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (for details of GURN see APM passim). UNITA offices are to be closed. Further sanctions are to be implemented in an attempt to restrict flights into UNITA-controlled territory.

The Secretary General of the UN is to report back to the Security Council by 20 October, and every 90 days afterwards on UNITA's compliance with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol. The Security Council also stated that it "expresses its readiness to consider the imposition of additional measures, such as trade and financial restrictions, if UNITA does not fully comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and all relevant Security Council resolutions".

Warnings ignored

UNITA had been warned on 23 July by the Security Council (Presidential Statement S/PRST/1997/39) that the Security Council reaffirmed its readiness to impose further sanctions because of UNITA's "continued efforts to restore its military capabilities". The Security Council found "the information submitted by UNITA to the Joint Commission on 21 July 1997 with regard to the strength of its armed forces, the extension of State administration and the activities of Vorgan radio to be neither complete nor credible".

The current President of the Security Council, British Ambassador John Weston, reiterated the stronger position on 13 August when he said that "the international community will not tolerate the resumption of hostilities in Angola. The situation is totally unacceptable".

The imposition of sanctions follows the report to the Security Council by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 13 August (S/1997/640). In his report, he warns that "the peace process in Angola is experiencing some of the most serious difficulties since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol. The progress achieved during the previous two and a half years is being severely undermined by persisting tensions throughout the country". He continues that "it is obvious that the current state of affairs is mainly the result of delays by UNITA in implementing its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol. The complete demilitarisation of UNITA, the restoration of State administration throughout the country, the transformation of radio Vorgan into a non-partisan station, and the true transformation of UNITA into a political party are imperatives for the implementation of the peace process".

Implementation of sanctions questioned

These sanctions add to the present mandatory sanctions against providing UNITA with either petroleum products or armaments.

However, the existing sanctions have been ineffective, as no mechanism for enforcing the sanctions was set up. A sanctions committee has looked at the problem of sanctions busting. Its only actions were to send a few letters to President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), to which he did not reply.

This same committee now has the task of overseeing the implementation of the new set of sanctions. The Security Council resolution lays down tasks for the sanctions committee to carry out, but it is not clear what, if any, actions could be taken against member states who do not cooperate with the committee. Questions have also been raised about the period of grace of one month delay in the imposition of sanctions, which is longer than the expected fortnight. One source in Luanda states that this has dismayed many in the Angolan Government, who point to UNITA's clear preparations for war.

Eleventh hour tactics rejected by UN

UNITA's standard tactic of offering to carry out some of its obligations just before Security Council meetings has failed to save it from serious censure.

In his report of 13 August, Kofi Annan warned that "last minute half-hearted concessions by UNITA, under pressure and on the eve of Security Council deliberations are no longer acceptable". UNITA had used the lead up to the Security Council meeting to offer to restart the extension of State administration.

On 18 August an agreement was reached between the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), the three observer nations (Russia, Portugal and the United States), the Government and UNITA. Under the agreement there was to be an immediate resumption of the process of handing back territory to the Government. Within days the important town of Negage was to be handed over, along with up to forty other areas.

By mid-September 145 areas were to be handed over to government control, with the whole country being under state control by the end of November. The diamond regions of Lunda Sul and Norte, where UNITA occupies major mining areas, were to be the last to be handed over.

However, the agreement was clearly a sham as only one minor town was subsequently handed over. According to one diplomat, quoted in the South African-based Mail and Guardian on 25 August, "this is vintage UNITA. They are trying to delay as long as they can to try and avoid the imposition of these sanctions".

The issue of State administration is one of the central issues which stand in the way of a lasting peace. The UN Secretary General stated in his report of 13 August that "the immediate normalisation of State administration is of crucial importance not only for the unity and territorial integrity of the country, but also for the economic and social reconstruction of Angola".

A resolution passed by Angola's parliament, the National Assembly, on 25 July, inter alia, "urges the Government to act to uphold sovereignty and national defence, guaranteeing the security of the population and the national wealth, as it is constitutionally empowered to do".

However, the Angolan Government gained praise for its patience from the UN Secretary General, who stated in his report that "although the Government had declared its intention to resume the functions of normalisation throughout the country on 25 July 1997, it has so far refrained from taking unilateral measures in this regard".

UN to slow down withdrawal

Following the increased tensions in the country, the UN Security Council agreed with Kofi Annan's plans to extend the presence of MONUA in Angola by a month.

In his report of 13 August, Annan proposed to "postpone the withdrawal of the UN military units from Angola and to retain in the country up to 2,650 military personnel until the end of October 1997". The London-based Financial Times stated on 29 July that MONUA is costing 450,000 a day.

UNITA troops prepare for war

The Force Commander of MONUA, Major General P V Sibanda, has written a damning report outlining UNITA's war preparations.

The key points of the report are:

Recruitment - the report states that although people in UNITA-controlled areas were reluctant to give information, one case of forced recruitment was confirmed to have taken place around Cubal and Ganda areas in Benguela Province, where about 200 young men were forcibly recruited and taken to Bailundo.

Training - MONUA has managed to confirm the existence of a training camp, at Fazenda Luiz Grilo, following an interview with a UNITA deserter, Lieutenant Severino Sucupia, who said that UNITA had refused to allow him to be quartered and demobilised. According to his information, a thousand UNITA soldiers have so far been trained at the camp.

Regrouping - MONUA has stated that UNITA is training two categories of people. The first is of soldiers who were never quartered; the second is of soldiers who were quartered and demobilised. The report states that "MONUA takes this as a clear case of remobilisation of troops by UNITA".

The report also warns of the sudden rise in reports of UNITA troop concentrations and forced changes in the destinations of demobilised troops by UNITA authorities was confirmed by MONUA at Luau in Moxico Province, Calibuitchi in Lunda Norte Province and Mussende in Cuanza Sul Province.

The report states that the above "casts doubt on UNITA's commitment to peace. These actions by UNITA should be denounced in the strongest terms as UNITA cannot expect to participate in the structures of the Government of Unity and National Reconstruction, yet at the same time run a private army on the side and continue to control large areas of the country".

One issue that the report did not address was the 30,000 UNITA troops who were in the quartering areas but absconded before being demobilised. Reports (see APM ad passim) suggest that many of these returned to their units. According to the London-based Financial Times on 29 July, a senior UN official admitted that "we suspect that most of the 20,000 UNITA soldiers whom we have demobilised have actually remained under some sort of UNITA command".

UNITA rearming for war

Despite the international embargo on the sale of petroleum products or armaments to UNITA, the rebel movement is continuing to receive supplies giving it the capacity to relaunch the war.

In the UN Secretary General's report to the UN Security Council, Kofi Annan points out that the "landing of over 120 flights between 1 and 30 July at UNITA-controlled airstrips scattered throughout the central and eastern parts of the country, which MONUA was not allowed to verify, are clear indications of extensive military preparations".

According to the London-based Africa Analysis on 22 August, UNITA is importing up to 40 plane-loads of supplies per week. Various sources suggest that most of these aircraft are flying from either South Africa or Zambia, though SA Government sources deny these reports. The port of Pointe Norte in Congo-Brazzaville is also said to be used as a transit point.

UNITA replanting mines

The Secretary General's report also points out that the planting of new mines in UNITA-controlled areas has also been reported: "on the Saurimo-Cacolo road, which had been extensively used, a civilian vehicle detonated an anti-tank mine on 4 July, resulting in the death of three people and the injury of many others. Demining experts who visited the scene discovered that the mine had been recently replanted".

The report also states that "there have been worrisome reports from international demining NGO's and the Angolan National Institute for the Removal of Unexploded Ordinance indicating a trend towards the resumption of mine laying in some parts of the country. Such incidents have been confirmed in the provinces of Malanje, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul". The report also states that UNITA is imposing restrictions on demining organisations.

Demining activities are restricted to seven of Angola's 18 provinces, and only 8% of the 1,532 minefields identified have been cleared.

UNITA attacks

The Joint Commission - made up of representatives of MONUA, the troika of observer states, the Government and UNITA - has condemned attacks perpetrated by UNITA in Lunda Norte at Posto de Fronteira Nordeste on 2 July and Posto de Fronteira Muaquesse on 24 July.

Analysts have suggested that these frontier posts were attacked to clear the way for the return of UNITA elements who were defeated in Zaire during the recent overthrow of Zaire's president Mobutu Sese Seko.

Government rebuilding its defences

As a result of the increased military tension, the Angolan Government has taken steps to rearm and reinforce its defence forces. According to the UN Secretary General, the Government has temporarily suspended the disarmament of the civilian population, insisting on the disarmament of civilians in both Government and UNITA-controlled areas simultaneously.

It is argued that the civilian population played an important role in the repulsion of UNITA attacks, especially in Luanda, following the rebels' rejection of the 1992 election results and their subsequent return to war. Civilians were also blamed by some for human rights abuses during this period.

The Government is also reportedly moving arms and soldiers to boost defences in key towns such as Huambo, Uige and Malanje. These are surrounded by UNITA troops, and sources say that UNITA may have hopes of retaking Huambo in particular.

In a move that many consider to be highly significant, the Government recently reached agreement with the United States for the purchase of six refurbished C-130 cargo planes, which will improve the Angolan army's logistics.

Angola faces aid drought

Angola is facing a growing economic and social crisis as aid to the war-torn country is falling far short of the bare minimum needed to assist the peace process.

The 1997 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal, which co-ordinates humanitarian assistance for Angola, has so far only received 20.6% of the funds needed. Whilst some of the projects covered by the Appeal have been delayed due to the lack of progress in the peace process, other projects have become more vital due to the delayed return of refugees. Because most refugees and displaced persons have not returned to their homes, and because minefields remain a huge hazard, it is expected that next year's harvest will be less than planned.

The financial status of the demobilisation process is also in crisis. Only $16.4 million out of a total of $56.6 million needed have been provided. The September 1995 Brussels Round Table, which raised pledges of around $1 billion for the reconstruction of the country, has so far only produced $6.8 million from member states, $2.5 million from the UNDP.

Meanwhile, Sweden has announced that it is to donate $24 million to be used in community rehabilitation projects in Malanje Province and in the health sector. Norway has announced that it will grant Benguela province $7 million to renovate the local telecommunications network.

Huge oil find and higher oil prices boost future economy

The French petroleum company Elf has announced that it has found a huge deposit of oil in its Dalia concession. It is estimated that the find is larger than the 700m - 1 billion barrel deposit found at Girassol last year, perhaps as large as 3 billion barrels. The consortium involved in the concession is Elf Aquitaine, Exxon Corp, Esso, British Petroleum, Statoil, Norsk Hydro and Fina.

Ranger Oil has received approval by the State-owned Sonangol to develop the Kiame oil field, estimated to have reserves of 8 million barrels. The average price of a barrel of oil is now just under $18.

New diamond concessions

Petra Diamonds Ltd has been granted a 10,000 square mile concession in north-eastern Angola, including six known kimberlites and 16 diamadiferous alluvial occurrences. Trans Hex International and Longreach Gold Oil are to explore and develop three diamond concessions in Lunda Norte.

Conference to debate peace process

Leading international figures will meet in London on 4 September to debate the prospects for peace in Angola.

British Minister of State in the Foreign Office, Tony Lloyd MP, former UN Under-Secretary General Dame Margaret Anstee, and Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Chikoti, will speak at the conference organised by ACTSA, Christian Aid and the Catholic Institute for International Relations.

The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the British Anti-Apartheid Movement. It is produced as our contribution towards the work of the Angola Emergency Campaign, which seeks to highlight the need for international action in support of peace and democracy in Angola.

ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, UK;
fax +44 171 837 3001; telephone +44 171 833 3133.
Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide Web at:

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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