Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 5
Date Distributed (ymd): 960130
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has sent a clear signal to Angola that US patience is running out over the slow progress towards a peaceful settlement in Angola. Following major government concessions during President dos Santos' visit to Washington in December, UNITA is now under intense US pressure to honour its pledges to quarter its troops.
Ms Albright was on a three day visit to the country, beginning on 18 January. During her visit she met with, among others, President dos Santos, Prime Minister Marcolino Moco, and UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye. She also travelled to Bailundo to meet with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.
The US ambassador received assurances from Savimbi that UNITA would speed up the quartering of its troops (see below). However, in a statement quoted in the London-based journal Southscan, she said "I have to tell you that the international community is running out of patience ... I even fear that, if the promise that was made to me by Mr Savimbi today is not realised, the international community may say: It is enough. A total of $1m is spent daily in this country. So this country's leaders must take advantage of this opportunity."
Madeleine Albright will assume the position of President of the UN Security Council in February.
An ambitious target for the quartering of rebel troops has been set by UNITA, signalling the end of last year's suspension of cantonment. The deadline was set to coincide with the United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on 8 February, which will consider the whole future of the mission.
On 19 January UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi, pledged to confine 16,500 troops by 8 February, which also marks the anniversary of the creation of UNAVEM III. UNITA's conference increased the pledge to 20,000, as long as UNAVEM could provide the necessary logistics.
UNITA had suspended the confinement of troops on 4 December 1995 following military clashes between Government and UNITA troops around the town of Sumba in the northern province of Zaire. The confinement of UNITA personnel had begun in late November, and the Angolan Government had complained of the slow pace of quartering, and that those troops confined were "boy soldiers with unserviceable weapons" (see APM 3,II). By 4 December only 363 UNITA troops had been quartered.
The confinement of troops restarted on 17 January at the Tchikala-Tcholohanga assembly areas (formerly Vila Nova) in the central Huambo province. Televisao Popular de Angola is quoted as stating that on 23 January 75 UNITA personnel had been quartered, bringing the total to 660. The South African Press Association (SAPA) reported on 25 January that a total of 693 soldiers had been quartered. Estimates of the total number of UNITA troops vary widely. SAPA reports that UNITA have 63,000 troops.
One unconfirmed source in Luanda reported to ACTSA that UNITA officers have received orders to demobilise a whole brigade, including heavy armour.
UNITA have confirmed that they will continue with the implementation of the peace process, following decisions made at their annual conference in Bailundo. However, the conference, which was extended by over a week until 25 January, created new conditions for its continued participation.
UNITA decided that it will participate in the Government structures agreed under the Lusaka Protocol, which gives them the following positions:
4 cabinet ministers 7 deputy ministers 6 ambassadors 3 provincial governors 6 deputy provincial governors 20 municipal administrators 25 deputy municipal administrators 45 communal administrators
UNITA has stated that it will only join the Government if a common platform to deal with the social and economic crisis can be agreed. Furthermore, it has demanded that its members are not forced to leave the party, and that the "ban" on UNITA and its activities be lifted.
On the question of quartering UNITA troops, the conference demanded that the Angolan Army, FAA, should be returned to barracks. This is a new condition, as the Lusaka Protocol only requires the FAA to remain in situ, and not to occupy areas held by UNITA.
The Joint Committee, which oversees the peace process, met on 25 January and requested that UNITA provide a plan of their needs for quartering.
The Government has met another condition in the Lusaka Protocol by ordering the return to base of the Rapid Intervention Police. The anti-riot squads began their return to base on 10 January, with a movement to three bases in Luanda.
The anti-riot squad has now also returned to bases in Uige and Huambo. By 26 January 2,000 of these police officers had returned to base, completing the first phase of the confinement process.
Military advisers from the South African organisation Executive Outcomes have left Angola following the termination of their Government contract. It has been rumoured that Executive Outcomes personnel have now been redeployed to Sierra Leone.
Following the military clashes in Zaire Province in December, many areas of the country have seen a reduction in tensions, whilst military action has continued in others.
The London-based journal Southscan reported on 5 January that UNAVEM has moved some of its Zimbabwean peace-keepers to the two most contested areas, Sumba, 40km east of Soyo, and Mango Grande, 40km south. Concern has been expressed that the movement of UNAVEM troops to the area will weaken their presence in other areas.
The Government has agreed to remove its troops from areas taken during fighting with UNITA, but only in order for UN peace-keepers to take over. The Government justification for the military actions in December was that UNITA was using those areas to launch attacks on the strategically important oil town of Soyo.
Troops have already been removed from some of the areas retaken by the Government.
The Angolan Government has also come under criticism from the United Nations over the capture of Kitoke in Uige province during the Christmas period.
The London-based magazine, West Africa, reported on 8 January that unknown assailants assassinated the Governor of Bengo province on New Year's Eve. Domingos Hungo was travelling to his brother's house in Luanda when he was shot and killed.
It was also reported in Southscan on 12 January, that during the previous week UNITA had attacked civilians in Huila province. The Governor of Huila, Kundi Payama, said that UNITA had massacred 50 civilians, and the Mayor of a Huila village said that UNITA had axed 15 civilians to death.
A meeting between President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi is reportedly still being arranged following the breakdown in the latest arrangements.
The two were due to meet on 20 January. However, the meeting was cancelled by Savimbi. The Angolan Government had wanted to meet on Angolan territory. However, a Lisbon radio station reported on 19 January that the proposed venue was in Gabon. It appears that President dos Santos may have conceded meeting outside Angola during his visit to Washington.
There have been three previous meetings between President dos Santos and Savimbi. None of these have been in Angola as Savimbi claims to be unhappy with the security situation.
It is understood that Britain's Minister for Overseas Development, Baroness Chalker, is likely to visit Angola in mid-February, though the Foreign Office will not yet officially confirm this. The visit would be both to assess the current progress on the peace process, given Britain's role as a permanent member of the Security Council, and the need for aid for reconstruction
The UK failed to pledge aid at the Brussels Donors' Round Table on Angola in September 1995 (see APM 1, vol II), where potential aid cuts stymied the ability of the Overseas Development Administration to pledge aid. It is understood that the visit could augur a British aid pledge - though for what and on what scale is not known.
The Government of Angola has increased its protests over the continuing use of Zaire as a conduit for the movement of military men and materials.
The Government handed over a formal protest to the Zairean Government on 22 December, and wrote to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity on the same day, following a plane crash on Angolan territory. The fatal crash, which resulted in the deaths of 139 Angolans, originated in Zaire. The Angolan Government claimed that the plane was being used to move weapons and personnel belonging to UNITA.
In a statement, UNITA admitted that the aircraft Electra, owned by Trans Service Airlift, was chartered by UNITA. However, it claims that the plane was carrying evacuees from Jamba.
Angola's Ambassador to the UN also wrote to the UN Security Council's Sanctions Committee on 3 January, condemning Zaire's violation of paragraphs 19 and 20 of Resolution 864 adopted in September 1993.
The UN Committee established to oversee the implementation of the arms embargo against UNITA has admitted that its effectiveness is dependent upon the cooperation of the states concerned.
The Committee was set up to monitor the mandatory sanctions against UNITA relating to the sale or supply of arms and related material, as well as of petroleum and petroleum products. It also had the task of reporting violations to the Security Council and to make observations and recommendations.
In its report, dated 17 January, the committee stated that its activities had been to:
The Committee states that since it was formed, it has "experienced difficulty in obtaining information on alleged violations of the mandatory sanctions with respect to UNITA. As is the case with similar arms embargoes imposed by the Security Council, the effectiveness of the Committee would continue to depend on the cooperation of Member States in a position to provide information on possible violations".
Meanwhile, the organisation Human Rights Watch/Africa is to publish a report on 6 February detailing the continued use of Zaire as a conduit for the breaking of the arms embargo on UNITA.
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