Magazine article UN Chronicle

Progress towards National Reconciliation Reported; Mandate of UNAVEM II Extended

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Progress towards National Reconciliation Reported; Mandate of UNAVEM II Extended

Article excerpt

Intensive negotiations for a comprehensive peace settlement in Angola had stalled on the issue of participation of the National Union for the Total independence of Angola (UNITA) in the management of State affairs, it was reported on 31 March. The talks in Lusaka, Zambia had resumed in November 1993 following widespread post-election civil strife.

After recalling that 12 of 18 issues relating to the national reconciliation of Angola had already been agreed upon, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali reported (S/1994/374) to the Security Council that the outstanding issues could be resolved if "approached with realism and the necessary political will".

Of the six remaining points, most important was UNITA's role in the organs of central, provincial and local government and in diplomatic missions. The other unresolved issues included: the future status of "Vorgan" radio; assumption by UNITA deputies of their seats in the National Assembly; re-establishment of State administration throughout Angola; and the return of UNITA property in the hands of the Government, and vice versa.

The 12 specific principles on national reconciliation accepted by the Angolan Government and UNITA covered, inter alia, concepts such as trust, tolerance, coexistence, pardon and amnesty, as well as concrete questions, including the reaffirmation of the need for security guarantees, freedom of association, expression and the press, independence of the judiciary, adoption of the symbols of State, and decentralization.

Once all outstanding issues had been successfully addressed, Mr. Boutros-Ghali said discussions would concentrate on conclusion of the electoral process, the future mandate of the UN, and the role of the three observer States in the peace process --the United States, the Russian Federation and Portugal.

The military situation throughout the country had been "generally marked by a reduction of large-scale military operations", he said, despite UNITA's continuing raids, ambushes, shelling and other military actions.

Mr. Boutros-Ghali called for "restraint on the ground" and a halt to all military actions to help establish a "much-needed atmosphere" of trust and confidence at the Lusaka talks. He also urged the Government of Angola and UNITA to "show the flexibility needed" to reach a comprehensive settlement, "so that the people of Angola can finally enjoy the lasting peace they deserve after so many years of conflict".

A decisive turn

On 9 March, the Secretary-General had reported (S/1994/282) that the Lusaka negotiations had "taken a decisive turn" and were proceeding towards the conclusion of a comprehensive peace agreement. National reconciliation was, above all, the primary objective of the peace process--the "crucial issue that remains to be resolved".

On 17 February, agreement was reached on general principles concerning national reconciliation. On 11 December 199 3, agreement had been reached on the general and specific principles, as well as modalities, relating to all military issues, including: reestablishment of a cease-fire; withdrawal, quartering and demilitarization of all UNITA military forces; disarming of all civilians; and completion of the formation of the Angolan Armed Forces, including demobilization.

In January, agreement had been reached on general and specific principles and on the modalities concerning the police, including the composition of the rapid intervention police, which had required protracted negotiation.

On 29 January, the Secretary-General reported (S/1994/100) that the two parties in the Lusaka talks had shown the will to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement. …

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