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Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 1
Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 1
Date distributed (ymd): 971006
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +US policy focus+
Summary Contents: UN defers UNITA sanctions under US pressure. UNITA buys
time with last-minute territorial concessions but reports suggest remobilization
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.1, Vol IV, 2nd October 1997
"Unacceptable" last minute concessions save UNITA from
The United Nation's Security Council on 29 September in New York stepped
back from their promise to impose further sanctions on the Angolan rebel
movement, UNITA, the day before the sanctions were due to come into force
(see APM no.12, Vol III).
The sanctions agreed by the Security Council, under the Presidency of
Britain's Ambassador to the UN, John Weston, on 28 August, would have placed
travel restrictions on senior UNITA members, banned flights (apart from
of a humanitarian nature) into UNITA-held areas, and closed down UNITA
The decision to back down from confronting UNITA was taken under heavy
pressure from the United States, who in September took over the monthly
rotating Presidency of the Security Council. The move shocked senior figures
involved in the peace process both in Angola and internationally. Now UNITA
has been given a further month of grace.
Under the latest Security Council resolution, the additional sanctions
have been "postponed until 00.01 EST on 30 October 1997". The
sanctions will then, as set out in the previous resolutions, come into
effect unless "concrete and irreversible steps" to comply with
all the obligations set out under the Lusaka Protocol have been taken by
UNITA, including the demilitarisation of all its forces, transformation
of its Radio Vorgan into a non-party political broadcaster, and fully cooperating
with the process of extending state administration throughout the country.
The previous resolution also specifically demanded that UNITA provide
immediately to the Joint Commission accurate and complete information on
the strength of all its armed personnel, in order for them to be verified,
disarmed and demobilised.
The decision of the Security Council is in stark contrast to the report
from Kofi Annan on 13 August where he stated that "last minute half-hearted
concessions by UNITA, under pressure and on the eve of Security Council
deliberations are no longer acceptable".
Passing Resolution 1130, the Security Council noted the report of the
Secretary-General of 24 September, "and subsequent information on
steps taken by UNITA".
UNITA withdraws from Negage and Cuango
In the face of international pressure for them to comply fully with
the Lusaka Protocol, the agreement signed in 1994 underpinning the peace
process, Jonas Savimbi's rebel movement has been able to stave off international
action by the surrender of two towns.
Typical of UNITA's tactics, the rebel movement waited until 29 September
before handing over the town of Negage to state administration. Negage
had recently been used by UNITA as a major military base, with the airstrip
being used to fly in weapons and troop reinforcements.
However, by 29 September UNITA troops who occupied the town had retreated
into the countryside. Hundreds of local people heard speeches from Angolan
Government, UN and UNITA representatives.
On 30 September the diamond-rich municipality of Cuango was handed over
to state administration. The hand-over was attended by Minister for Territorial
Administration, Faustino Muteka, who stressed that "in the next three
months there must be a return to normalisation in the countryside".
Threats by UNITA
UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi had threatened to withdraw from the peace
process if sanctions were applied. Speaking to the Portuguese newspaper,
Expresso, Savimbi said "if sanctions are imposed on UNITA, we will
abandon the peace protocol".
UN Spokesman, David Wimhurst, on 26 September dismissed the threat,
telling Associated Press that "they're trying to exert pressure on
the international community. It's a question of who's going to blink".
Security Council lays out terms
Speaking after the Security Council meeting, its current President,
US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, said that "council members
expect that during this period [until 30 October], UNITA will cooperate
with the extension of state administration, including Cuango, Negage, Mavinga,
Adulo and Bailundo".
He continued that "council members also expect that UNITA will
take concrete steps to demobilise and disarm its remaining troops and cease
its hostile propaganda, both inside and outside the country". However,
there were no specific indications of what the US and other Security Council
members expect of UNITA on these issues by the end of the month.
The crucial issue of the extension of state administration into the
rural areas was not highlighted. However, one aspect of this might be being
addressed. Officials quoted in a Reuters report claim that the handing
over of Cuango should result in a comprehensive deal on the country's diamonds.
Many observers see a diamond deal as being crucial to UNITA fully incorporating
itself into the peace process.
Background to sanctions
The additional sanctions, agreed on 28 August, were to be imposed following
information gathered by the UN Observer Mission in Angola, MONUA, which
showed that UNITA was recruiting, remobilising, and regrouping its military
forces. There are no indications that this process has been stopped.
The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, warned the Security Council on
13 August (S/1997/640) 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 were not allowed to verify,
are clear indications of extensive military preparations".
These "extensive military preparations" have taken place at
the same time as UNITA members have been working in positions granted to
them in the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, and in the
National Assembly where 70 UNITA deputies sit.
Ready for sanctions
The international community spent the month of August preparing for
the imposition of the further sanctions. In some countries, civil servants
were preparing the necessary primary legislation.
The British Government made clear its readiness and willingness to impose
the sanctions at the conference - Achieving lasting peace in Angola: the
unfinished agenda - held jointly by ACTSA, Christian Aid and the Catholic
Institute for International Relations on 4 September.
Speaking at the conference, Tony Lloyd MP, Minister of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, said, "the Security Council does not go
through the process of the imposition of sanctions in a light-hearted or
frivolous fashion. It is actually quite difficult to get international
coherence for that process to come together, and I would like to pay tribute
to the role of British diplomats who worked extremely hard with many others
to make sure that the resolution went through".
He continued that, "existing sanctions against UNITA have in the
past proved hard to enforce and the measures proposed under the present
Security Council Resolution are going to need the active co-operation and
willingness of all parties in the international community if they are to
be made effective. However, if that sanctions regime is in place, the United
Kingdom will do everything it can, both by ourselves and within the international
community, to make that sanctions regime work".
These preparations reflected international opinion, as endorsed by the
UN Secretary-General, who gave a report to the Security Council as late
as the 24 September, stating: "I am not yet in a position to advise
the Security Council that UNITA has taken the necessary steps to comply
with all the obligations set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of its Resolution
1127 [on 28 August 1997]. Such steps would have to include, in particular,
the immediate provision by UNITA to the UN of credible and verifiable information
about the strength of the residual armed elements and weapons, and to allow
the state administration to be extended to strategically important areas
of the country."
He stated that he considered that "the figure of 6,052 claimed
by UNITA to be the total of its residual troops remains unconvincing",
and that "the quality and quantity of weapons surrendered to MONUA
by these residual troops are insignificant". Of the 3,317 weapons
handed over, only 56.5 percent were found to be serviceable and in good
condition. Only 46,532 pieces of ammunition were handed over.
Kofi Annan continued, "so far, no major artillery pieces or communication
equipment have been handed over, except for six 82mm mortars and forty
three 40mm rocket launchers, casting further doubt on the credibility of
the demilitarisation exercise".
On the extension of state administration he stated that, "there
is little doubt that the delay in extension of state administration to
major strategic locations such as Andulo, Bailundo, Cuango, Mavinga and
Negage is a result of political consideration".
The international consensus on the need for additional sanctions to
be taken against UNITA was underlined on 23 September, when the Council
of the European Union agreed a common position on implementing the additional
Angolans welcome move - publicly
The Angolan Government has put on a brave face following the decision
to suspend the sanctions package. The Angolan Embassy in Washington stated
that "the UN, in close consultation with the Troika of observers and
with the full support of the Angolan Government, has decided to postpone
the application of sanctions until 30 October in response to last minute
actions by UNITA to fulfil its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol".
However, privately government officials have expressed anger and resentment
at the decision, which they blame on the United States.
Some commentators have pointed to the fact that US diamond dealer Maurice
Templesman, of Lazar Kaplan, has been negotiating with UNITA leader Jonas
Savimbi over a diamond deal to follow a lasting peace. Commentators have
suggested that these negotiations are at a sensitive stage, with huge benefits
from a positive outcome.
Rumours are currently circulating that a deal has been reached between
the Angolan state diamond mining organisation, Endiama, and UNITA. This
would involve regularising and legalising UNITA's diamond mining operations.
Such an agreement could prove to be a defining point in the peace process,
with UNITA outlining its price for accepting peace.
Two senior Government ministers, Faustino Muteka and Higino Carneiro,
had visited Dr Savimbi in Andulo on 15 September, returning on 18 September.
According to a report from Reuters on 1 October, an official close to
the peace process said of the proposed deal: "This is a very complicated
agreement. This is the beginning of a process that is going to take about
three months. During that time you will see a lot of UNITA areas revert
to the government, but you will also see UNITA diamond areas legitimised".
The second factor which commentators suggest may have contributed to
the strong US pressure to delay imposing the sanctions is the US domestic
political situation. This argument is that the Clinton administration is
vulnerable to pressure from the Republican-led Senate, where Savimbi's
old friend, Jesse Helms is the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
However, the US academic, Professor Gerard Bender, views the US Senate
circles that used to support Savimbi's cause as having been substantially
weakened after 1992, and now without enough power to halt the President
from taking tough action against UNITA if necessary.
William Minter, Senior Research Fellow, Africa Policy Information Center,
and veteran Angola-watcher, does not see the UN inaction as a result of
a change in policy. In an interview with the Angola Peace Monitor, he said
that, "the tendency to give UNITA one more chance, regardless of the
demonstrated failure to comply with previous commitments, has been a constant
thread in US and international response to violations of Angolan peace
agreements. The latest decision to postpone sanctions for another month
is fully consistent with this tendency. Once again, Savimbi is calling
the international community's bluff."
Delay to UNITA's military advantage
Although the delay in the imposition of further sanctions is intended
to give UNITA further time to comply with its obligations under the Lusaka
Protocol, it could also give UNITA a further month to continue to rearm
and reorganise. It is not yet clear whether UNITA has stepped back from
the brink of war, or if it is once again playing for time in order to prepare
The importance of the time factor was raised during the Achieving lasting
peace in Angola conference in London.
Peter Simkin, former Director of the UN's Humanitarian Assistance Department
in Angola, warned that, "the risks of returning to a general war have
greatly increased since FAA launched its recent offensive to remove UNITA
from the diamond fields in the Lundas. This has met with stiff opposition
from well equipped and trained UNITA forces and any advantages which FAA
has could be reduced if the offensive is not successfully completed before
the onset of the rains in November".
However, there have also been warnings of possible drought in the Southern
African region this year as a result of the El Nino weather system.
Conference focuses on lasting peace
A major conference - Achieving lasting peace in Angola: the unfinished
agenda, held in London on 4 September, heard from Minister of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Tony Lloyd MP; Angolan Vice Minister
for Foreign Affairs, George Chikoti; and other experts on Angola.
The summation was carried out by Dame Margaret Anstee, who was the UN
Secretary-General's Special Representative in Angola in the period covering
the 1992 elections.
The conference, convened by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa, Christian
Aid and the Catholic Institute for International Relations, will be bringing
out a full report shortly. This will be available from ACTSA (at the address
below) for 3.50 pounds sterling.
Extension of state administration vital for economy
The conference heard Angolan economist Manuel Nunes stress the importance
of the extension of state administration to the whole country for the rehabilitation
of the economy.
He pointed out that up to two-thirds of the country is occupied by UNITA,
resulting in no freedom of movement of people and goods. Up to 80 percent
of the population of Angola live in Government-held areas.
Nunes pointed out that the Angolan economy was in profound crisis, and
that the trade in goods and services was virtually non-existent.
Other speakers at the conference noted that the military instability
and the curse of landmines had prevented many people returning to farm
the land. Angola had previously been an exporter of food, but was now heavily
reliant on humanitarian aid.
In the present context, unless the extension of state administration
is spread from towns such as Negage, to the rural areas, the economy will
UNITA deserters warn of threat to peace
Two senior figures in the rebel UNITA movement have fled to government-controlled
areas, and have given interviews underlining further the divisions between
the Luanda-based UNITA participating in the Government of Unity and National
Reconciliation and Savimbi's camp.
Eugenio Manavakola, former UNITA Secretary-General, who signed the Lusaka
Protocol on behalf of UNITA, explained on 29 August to a press conference
that from 14 February 1995 until 28 August 1997 he was under arrest. He
fled from house arrest along with fourteen of his relatives.
The former Secretary-General was elected as a member of the National
Assembly on the UNITA ticket. However, whilst under house-arrest, his seat
was taken by a UNITA nominee.
Asked about UNITA's plans to restart the war, he replied: "I am
a passive UNITA leader. I have not been active for almost three years.
I come from jail. In Andulo and Bailundo I managed to gather military information
that leads me to believe that in fact there is a faction that is dealing
with military readiness, in men and materiel, also landing strips".
In the interview, he denied that he had deserted UNITA. He said that,
"I have at this moment profound differences with Dr Savimbi. That
is the reason why I say I did not desert UNITA, but I have differences
with UNITA". He continued that "nobody can be blamed for my situation
but Dr Savimbi".
Defector warns of mercenaries
Another senior UNITA member who fled UNITA, Major Miguel Florentino
Sawimbo, went on Angolan TV on 30 August, warning that UNITA is receiving
large quantities of war materiel.
Major Sawimbo also warned that there are South African and Moroccan
mercenaries working with UNITA, based in Andulo and Mussende.
Aid to Angola
The European Union announced on 8 September that it is to give 2.07
million ECU to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assist
in landmine clearance.
In August the Swedish Government pledged $600,000 to the International
Organisation of Migration's demobilisation operation in Angola. Subsequently,
Portugal pledged a further $500,000.
Clare Short MP, Secretary of State for International Development announced
on 2 October that the British Government is to double its spending over
the next three years on demining efforts worldwide. At present it is spending
5 million pounds sterling a year.
US military training for FAA
The Chief of Staff of the Angolan army, FAA, announced on 26 September
that the United States is to provide $200,000 for training.
The announcement follows a meeting with a visiting US military delegation.
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; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
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.