Magazine article UN Chronicle

Angola: Phased Withdrawal Resumes

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Angola: Phased Withdrawal Resumes

Article excerpt

The Security Council on 11 December extended the mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) until 28 February 1997, and approved the Secretary-General's recommendation to resume withdrawal, also in February, of the Mission's formed military units.

According to resolution 1087 (1996), adopted unanimously, the pace of UNAVEM III's withdrawal would be commensurate with progress achieved in the quartering areas, demobilization and the extension of State administration throughout Angola.

The Secretary-General was asked to report back no later than 10 February on a plan for a limited follow-on United Nations presence that would include military and police observers, a political component, human rights monitors and a Special Representative.

Shortly before the Council met, it received a letter (S/1996/1002) from the Angolan Government stating that President Jose Eduardo dos Santos had issued instructions for the incorporation of nine generals of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) into the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA). Also on 11 December, UNITA formally declared that all its soldiers had been quartered and that it had handed over all its armaments to UNAVEM III.

Outstanding issues that remain include: integrating the selected UNITA military personnel into the FAA; demobilizing those remaining in the quartering areas; and agreement by the two sides before 31 December 1996 on the special status of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi as president of the largest opposition party.

Implementation of timetable behind schedule

"This unsatisfactory state of affairs cannot continue", stressed Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in a 2 December report (S/1996/1000) on UNAVEM III - the largest current United Nations peace-keeping operation.

Most of the UNITA fighters were still in the quartering areas, which placed an additional financial burden on the international community. The Government had not yet initiated the actual incorporation of these troops into the FAA.

The Secretary-General also recommended that a rapid reaction force be retained, to provide "a basic safety net to allow other United Nations components to function effectively and to help maintain the much-needed confidence between the Angolan parties", once the formed units would have left the country. …

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