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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, IV, 4

Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 4
Date distributed (ymd): 971223
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +US policy focus+
Summary Contents:
UNITA's position is weakening as countries begin to implement UN-imposed sanctions, but it is still doubtful whether UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi will take additional steps necessary to complete implementation of the 1994 peace agreement.

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

Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.4, Vol. IV 19 December 1997

Pivotal diamond deal nears deadline

If implemented, a major new diamond deal to legalise a large part of the UNITA rebel movement's mining operations could prove to be a watershed in the Angolan peace process.

The agreement reached between the Angolan government and UNITA, during exhaustive negotiations over the last year, allows for UNITA to take a stake of up to 25% in the concession belonging to the Sociedade Desenvolvimento Mineira (SDM) to exploit the rich diamond areas around the town of Luzamba, in the north-east of the country.

SDM is a consortium made up of the Brazilian company Oderbrecht, Australia's Ashton Mining and the state diamond company Endiama. It has sent an advance group of experts to Luzamba.

However, at present the area is under military occupation by UNITA. The deal agreed states that UNITA should cede control of Luzamba to the government on 1 January 1998, prior to any legalisation of UNITA mining activity. UNITA is also in negotiations with another consortium over the Luremo concession in northern Cuango. The concession is currently controlled by a consortium comprised of Endiama, IDAS and America Mineral Fields.

Analysts have pointed to the importance of the hand-over of Luzamba. It would signify commitment to peace, and give UNITA a legal source of revenue to support its activities as a political party, as well as forming the economic basis for the integration of the UNITA leadership into Angola's ruling elite. However, if UNITA fails to hand over Luzamba on 1 January through a series of delays, it could also be a signal that UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi wishes to continue to draw on funds from the illegal mining of diamonds to finance his armed opposition to the peace process.

It is not yet clear whether UNITA is preparing to move its armed troops to new strongholds in the south of the country, or whether it is preparing for a showdown with the government in the north-east. Africa Confidential reported on 5 December that a military source in the United Nations had stated that UNITA's two main airfields, Luzamba and Andulo, continue to be busy.

There are signs that the Angolan government is being proactive in its preparations for the region. At the end of November the Angolan army, FAA, took over by force from UNITA a number of minor diamond locations along the River Tshikapa.

Angolan government tightens grip

The Angolan government has continued to reduce UNITA's influence in neighbouring countries, cutting many of the remaining supply lines UNITA maintains for arms and petrol.

Following representations by the Angolan government to the Zambian government, action has been taken by the Zambian authorities to close down several companies suspected of operating flights into UNITA-held territory, including the South African company METEX. A number of aircraft have been seized pending investigations.

Reuters reported on 9 December that the Zambian authorities have given permission to the Angolan army to enter the country in hot pursuit of UNITA soldiers. The report states that Angolan forces have entered Zambia from Moxico province to cut off UNITA's supply routes.

At the end of November, the Zambian opposition party, United National Independence Party (UNIP) stated that it had "irrefutable evidence to show aircraft have been taking off from Ndola airport, laden with arms destined for UNITA strongholds in Angola".

Reuters also claim that two thousand Angolan soldiers have moved into the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). This is attributed to an unnamed UN official.

South Africa takes action

The South African government has also taken steps to reduce the ease with which flights can go to Angola without official permission.

In November the South African government announced that it has reduced the number of aerodromes authorised to host international flights from 35 to 10, in order to comply with sanctions against flights to UNITA controlled areas. Angolan troops due to leave Congo-Brazzaville

To the north of the country, Angolan troops are preparing to withdraw from Congo-Brazzaville following their military intervention in October (see APM no.2 vol.IV).

President dos Santos assured the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, on 12 December, that all Angolan military personnel would be withdrawn from Congo-Brazzaville by the end of the year.

This would free up to six thousand soldiers and strengthen FAA's defence capacity.

Gabon, Togo and Ivory Coast accused

Three countries on the west coast of Africa have been accused of giving support to UNITA.

Southscan claimed on 5 December that Togo has sold UNITA ammunition and rockets. The London-based journal links these arms to the sale of arms to Togo by the South African arms company - Denel. There are also claims that diamonds are now being flown into Togo from UNITA-held areas, in contravention of the recently imposed UN sanctions (see APM no.3 vol. IV).

These issues may have been raised during South African President Nelson Mandela's meeting President Etienne Eyadema of Togo on 9 December in Pretoria.

The northern neighbour of Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, has also been accused of giving support to UNITA. Gabon entered into a regional peace agreement with the two Congos and Angola at the end of October (see APM no.2 vol.IV). However, Gabon stands accused of allowing Bongoville and Franceville to be used for the refuelling of aircraft laden with arms destined for UNITA.

Also accused of helping UNITA to avoid sanctions is the Ivory Coast. The London-based Africa Confidential stated on 5 December that the government had recently issued Ivorian passports to several UNITA officials and their families.

Cabinda operation launched

In the north of Angola, in the enclave of Cabinda, an operation has been launched by FAA against separatist forces. The operation, launched on 9 December, is aimed at stopping the armed actions of the various separatist movements.

The London-based journal, Southscan, reported on 5 December that two of the separatist groups, Flec-R and FDC, have been equipped by UNITA. It is understood that UNITA, who previously have taken a stance of supporting the national integrity of Angola, have begun to support the separatist movements following the routing of UNITA and the Cabindan separatists from Congo-Brazzaville in October.

Southscan claims that the Cabindan-rebels receive financial support from Belgium-based Benicio Mavungu, who in turn has received $20 million from Arab countries through an account at the Nagelmackers Bank.

US strengthen ties with Angola

The United States has consolidated its relationship with Angola, following the visit by Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright on 12 December.

The Secretary of State visited an off-shore oil platform operated by the US company Chevron off the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda. At present the United States imports seven percent of its oil from Angola, and Madeleine Albright stated that she expects this amount to increase. The total value of Angolan crude oil exported to the US is currently $2 billion per year.

She said that the US Import-Export Bank was finalising a loan of about $90 million to develop new oilfields in Cabinda, and was discussing with Chevron and the state owned oil company, Sonangol, a $350 million package to support the purchase of American equipment by Angola.

The Secretary of State met with the Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Apart from discussing the peace process, the two discussed economic issues, and Albright stressed the importance that she attaches to increasing bilateral commercial activities. Madeleine Albright also stated that "Savimbi and the UNITA leaders who remain outside of Luanda can expect only marginalisation if they do not move swiftly to comply fully with the Lusaka Protocol, and to work in good faith to build post-Lusaka arrangements".

The ties were also strengthened by news that the United States has taken action to comply with UN sanctions imposed on 29 October (see APM no.2 vol. IV).

On 14 December, President Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order and Presidential Proclamation putting into effect US sanctions against UNITA. The US hopes that these measures will close the UNITA front, the Centre for Democracy in Angola (CDA), and the UNITA offices in New York and Philadelphia. The CDA is now registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Treasury Office is responsible for enforcing the closure of the offices, and for the embargos on flights into UNITA-held territories. It is expected that the UNITA offices will be closed before Christmas, although UNITA may fight the decision in the Courts.

London UNITA office defies government ban

The Angola Peace Monitor contacted the UNITA office in London on 17 December, and can confirm that it is continuing to operate. Its representative, Anibal Mateus Kandeya, is still working despite having overstayed his visa.

In a reply to a question in the House of Lords by ACTSA Chair Lord Hughes, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean stated that "the Home Office wrote to the UNITA representative, Mr Kandeya, on 5 December requiring him to leave the United Kingdom immediately". According to a source in the Foreign Office, the Home Office is currently checking its records of who has left the country recently. If it finds that Mr Kandeya has not left it will take steps to remove him.

The British government has taken steps to implement the other sanctions imposed by the UN. Entry visa's will not be issued to UNITA members named by the UN Sanctions Committee. Legislation has been amended to make it an offence to supply aircraft or aircraft parts to UNITA. It is also now an offence to provide insurance for aircraft flying into UNITA territory.

Two enquiries clear government over deaths

An enquiry by the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), and a separate enquiry by the Angolan government have found that ten UNITA members who died in detention were killed by a fellow UNITA inmate, who then committed suicide. The ten who died were part of a group of 22 UNITA soldiers who were captured after they attacked the municipality of Cangandala on 11 November.

The incident in a jail in Malanje (see APM no.3 vol. IV) led UNITA and its sympathisers to state that the deaths were caused by suffocation, having been placed in a cell with forty other detainees. This version was at first accepted by MONUA, and led MONUA spokesman David Wimhurst to denounce the government for "an act of barbaric cruelty".

It had been feared that the incident would provide a pretext for UNITA suspending cooperation with the Government. The two enquiries have now removed that threat.

Secretary General condemns UNITA for "no significant progress"

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, reported to the UN Security Council on 4 December (S/1997/959) that there had been "no significant progress" in the peace process since he last reported in October.

His report, which points out that UNITA has failed to give "unconditional cooperation in the fulfilment of its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol". In particular, UNITA has:

  • continued to conduct military training and resupply;
  • failed to provide MONUA with a credible figure for its residual forces; * only allowed state administration to continue at a very slow pace;
  • resumed putting landmines on roads;
  • landed 84 small and large aircraft in UNITA-controlled areas between 29 October and 20 November;
  • resumed the dissemination of hostile propaganda, especially over Radio Vorgan;
  • increased attacks on humanitarian workers;
  • restricted the freedom of movement of people around the country.

The Secretary General had been asked to prepare the report by the UN Security Council, in order to assess whether to lift sanctions in place against UNITA, or whether to take additional measures.

Kofi Annan also warned that "the Government must conduct the extension of State administration in such a way that it does not aggravate the already tense situation in some areas of the country and to cooperate fully with the United Nations in the investigation of the alleged disappearances and detentions of UNITA supporters".

In his report, Kofi Annan points out that MONUA has resumed withdrawing its military personnel, with 700 soldiers from Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Portuguese logistic unit and a number of military observers and staff officers being repatriated by the end of December.

This will leave MONUA with 1,750 military personnel, which will then be further reduced by the beginning of February.

Jonas Savimbi agrees to speak with President

UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has eventually spoken to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, having previously refused to accept the President's calls.

The two leaders spoke on the telephone on 15 December. However, during his meeting with Madeleine Albright on 12 December, the President stressed that he had attempted to contact Savimbi on his return to Angola on 7 December following an operation on his Achilles tendon in Brazil.

His telephone calls had been met with the statement that Jonas Savimbi was not available. However, the US Under Secretary of State, Thomas Pickering, did speak to Savimbi on 9 December, to urge him to come to Luanda to meet Ms Albright. The invitation was refused.

The two Angolan leaders have agreed to meet in Angola before the end of December.

UN condemns UNITA for relaying mines

The United Nations on 3 December accused UNITA of re-laying mines on roads previously cleared.

MONUA spokesperson, David Wimhurst stated that nine mines exploded in November on roads leading to UNITA's headquarters. He told Associated Press that "this is totally negative. This comes at a time when most of the world is supporting the treaty for a world-wide ban on landmines and increases UNITA's reputation as being a non-peaceful organisation".

The UN warned that remining roads could deter donor countries from giving funds for demining operations.

Major oil find

The French oil company Elf-Aquitaine has discovered a large oil field containing over 100 million tons, roughly 730 million barrels, of oil. The discovery, in Block 17, is about 200 kilometres offshore, at a depth of 1,250 meters.

Petroleum analysts are now talking of Angola becoming the largest oil producer in Africa within a decade.

Angola assists in Somali emergency

The Angolan government has lent the United Nations a C-130 cargo plane for use in the humanitarian airlift in Somali, following severe flooding.

Angolan flights to Paris resume

The Angolan national airline, TAAG, have announced that they have resumed a weekly flight to Paris after a seven year interruption. The aircraft used is a new Boeing 747-300.

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.

A subscription to Volume IV of the Angola Peace Monitor is available at a cost of 10 pounds sterling in Britain and 15 pounds sterling elsewhere. Please indicate whether you wish to receive the Angola Peace Monitor by post or e-mail. Payment should be made in pounds sterling. If you wish to pay in any other currency, you must add the equivalent of 6 to cover our bank charges.

ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail, 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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