Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III)


1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 6 of Security Council resolution 1102 (1997) of 31 March 1997, by which the Council extended the mandate of UNAVEM III until 16 April 1997 and requested me to report by 14 April on the status of the installation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. The report covers developments since my last report, dated 25 March (S/1997/248).


2. On 31 March, I briefed the Security Council on my visit to Angola from 22 to 25 March 1997. I also described the extensive efforts which have been made recently to further the peace process in Angola and, in particular, to ensure the earliest possible installation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. In addition, the members of the Security Council will recall that, following the arrival in Luanda of 63 out of 70 elected deputies of the Uniao para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) and of all 11 of its designated officials, the Government and UNITA agreed that the UNITA deputies would take their seats in the National Assembly on 9 April and that the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation would be installed on 11 April.

3. An extraordinary session of the Joint Commission was held on 31 March to confirm those arrangements. Consensus was also reached at that meeting on the draft text of the document on the special status of Mr. Jonas Savimbi as president of the largest opposition party. It was agreed that the document would be promulgated as law by the National Assembly before 9 April. The Government confirmed those dates in a communiqué issued on 31 March. However, on 2 April 1997, the Political Bureau of the Movimento Popular para a Libertacao de Angola (MPLA) also issued a communiqué in which, while reaffirming the dates for the swearing-in ceremony of the UNITA members of Parliament and the inauguration of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, it demanded that other important tasks deriving from the Lusaka Protocol be implemented without further delay. It also suggested that the draft legislation on the special status of the UNITA leader should be approved by the National Assembly only after the UNITA deputies had assumed their seats. However, following additional consultations conducted with the support of the representatives of the three observer States (Portugal, Russian Federation and United States of America), my Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, was able to make a statement clarifying the situation and confirming the agreements reached earlier.

4. On 8 April, the National Assembly enacted into law the text on the special status of Mr. Savimbi, which was adopted with minor amendments. That legislation, which can be amended or suspended only with the consent of the president of UNITA, defines his rights, duties and immunities. As scheduled, on the following day, 67 out of 70 UNITA members were sworn in at a ceremony which was attended by members of the Government, the Council of the Republic and representatives of the diplomatic corps. The remaining three deputies were unable to arrive in Luanda in time, owing either to illness or to difficulties with transportation. Subsequently, the National Assembly elected from among UNITA deputies a second vice-president and a second secretary of the Assembly.

5. On 11 April, the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation was inaugurated, during a solemn ceremony attended by Heads of State and Government and other dignitaries from various countries, including the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the representatives of the three observer States. Mr. Savimbi sent a special message which was read out by the UNITA vice-president. As expected, Prime Minister Fernando França Van Dunem and most ministers in the previous Government were reappointed, together with four ministers and seven vice ministers from UNITA. This important event marks a milestone in the Angolan peace process.


6. At the session of the Joint Commission held on 31 March, particular concern was expressed at the slow pace of the incorporation of selected UNITA soldiers into the Forcas Armadas Angolanas (FAA) and into the Angolan National Police. Neither process has advanced substantially since my last report to the Security Council (S/1997/248). The Joint Commission decided to dispatch four special groups composed of representatives of the Government, UNITA and UNAVEM to visit quartering areas/selection and demobilization centres to assess the situation and to identify steps which have to be taken in order to accelerate the incorporation of UNITA soldiers into FAA and the national police and the demobilization of excess personnel. Those recommendations, which include the need to improve coordination and logistic support to the above processes as well as the need to issue specific instructions for UNITA commanders in the quartering areas, will be considered by the Joint Commission shortly.

7. As of 10 April, of 18,558 UNITA troops selected, 7,949 had in fact been incorporated into FAA. While the quartering of UNITA police has now been formally concluded, only slightly more than 500 of them, out of a total of 5,040, have been selected for service in the national police. It appears that the stringent educational, age and fitness criteria which have been applied so far have excluded many potential candidates from possible selection. In the meantime, the beginning of the rapid demobilization programme, which is described in paragraph 12 below, has been postponed several times, creating additional hardship for UNITA soldiers and their families and imposing further financial difficulties on the United Nations.

8. The large number of deserters and absentees from the selection and demobilization centres remains a source of serious concern. Efforts are under way to make ex-combatants aware of the benefits of demobilization, in order to encourage those who left the quartering areas to return as soon as possible. With regard to command posts, UNITA has declared that their four remaining centres have now been dismantled, and this is being verified by UNAVEM III. The United Nations is also continuing to encourage the parties to dismantle a total of 135 illegal checkpoints, 77 of which belong to UNITA. In addition, UNAVEM is still awaiting from UNITA complete information concerning the strength and weaponry of the security detachment of the UNITA president.

9. UNAVEM III is proceeding with the gradual withdrawal of its formed military units. The next repatriation, of approximately 220 military personnel, is scheduled for 20 April. As a result, the strength of UNAVEM's military units will have been reduced by approximately 30 per cent. As previously indicated, this phased drawdown will continue, while taking into account the situation on the ground. However, under present plans, it is still my intention to complete the process by the end of August 1997.

10. I am seriously concerned at recent reports of involvement by the Angolan parties in the Zairian conflict. I discussed this issue with President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi during my recent visit to Angola. Both of them denied that they were providing support to the warring parties in Zaire. Obviously, such interference would have very serious consequences not only for the peace process in Angola, but also for the ongoing efforts to bring the current crisis in Zaire to an end, in accordance with the peace plan endorsed by the Security Council.


11. During the reporting period, humanitarian activities throughout the country continued to focus on the completion of the demobilization process, acceleration of the social reintegration of ex-combatants and their dependants, as well as on the reconstruction of basic services in order to absorb large population influxes. However, a number of security incidents have hindered humanitarian activities in the central and southern regions of the country, while difficulties continue to be experienced with the free circulation of people in the areas controlled by UNITA in the northern and eastern parts of Angola. In the meantime, some 2,000 new internally displaced persons from UNITA areas recently arrived in the vicinity of the city of Malange.

12. As of 12 April 1997, a total of 2,124 under-age UNITA military personnel have been demobilized from eight selection and demobilization centres. Following the disbursement by the Government of the funds for a special subsidy, a new schedule was approved for the rapid demobilization of excess UNITA personnel in the central and southern regions. This exercise is scheduled to begin on 14 April 1997 in Vila Nova, to be continued in Londuimbali and Quibala on 21 April and at the Chicuma and N'Gove quartering areas on 28 April. In the meantime, the Government is adopting additional steps to ensure that the mechanism for the disbursement of the discharge subsidy through a provincial network becomes fully operational. In a welcome development, the staff for the demobilization offices in Luanda and the provinces has been selected from among Government and UNITA candidates.

13. The planned transition of the responsibility for support of the national mine-clearance programme in Angola from UNAVEM to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been seriously delayed primarily because the Government has not yet signed the project document which was submitted for its approval in January 1997. In the present circumstances, I believe it would be essential, as an interim measure, to continue to provide operational support to this important programme on a cost-reimbursable basis from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs at least until the end of June 1997. Unless urgent steps are taken to implement transitional arrangements as described in my previous reports to the Council, the entire programme may be undermined and additional effort might be required to sustain it after June.


14. As indicated in paragraph 33 of my report of 25 March 1997 (S/1997/248), the General Assembly has provided resources for the maintenance of UNAVEM III for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, to be assessed on Member States at a monthly rate of $22,996,400 gross ($22,496,800 net), subject to the extension of the mandate of the Mission by the Security Council.

15. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNAVEM III, as recommended in paragraph 20 of the present report, the cost of maintaining the Mission would be within the monthly rate indicated above.

16. As at 9 April 1997, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNAVEM special account for the period since the inception of the Mission amounted to $93.0 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations was $1,659.0 million.


17. The developments of the last two weeks in Angola have been very encouraging. Never before has the country been so close to the final resolution of its devastating conflict and to the attainment of lasting peace.

18. The approval by the National Assembly of the legislation concerning the special status of the UNITA president, the swearing-in of the UNITA deputies in the National Assembly and the inauguration of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation mark an essential step forward in the peace process. The Angolan people and their leaders should be congratulated on their determination, patience and perseverance. It is my sincere hope that rapid progress can now be made in completing the implementation of other aspects of the Lusaka Protocol in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation. I also hope that the long-awaited meeting between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi will soon take place, in order to consolidate the progress which has been achieved towards national reconciliation.

19. However, much remains to be done. With the establishment of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, the parties should move expeditiously to normalize State administration throughout the whole country, to complete the formation of the unified armed forces and the national police, as well as to demobilize the excess UNITA military personnel. Urgent and resolute steps are also needed to complete the other pending issues, including the status of the UNITA radio and of the security detachment of Mr. Savimbi, the disarmament of the civilian population, the dismantling of illegal command posts and checkpoints, as well as the handover by UNITA of its communication equipment.

20. I am convinced that the international community should remain engaged in Angola until the goal of full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol is achieved. In the meantime, since the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation has now been inaugurated, I recommend that the Security Council approve the extension of the mandate of UNAVEM III until 30 June 1997, on the understanding that the operation would gradually proceed with the transition towards an observer mission, as described in section VII of my report of 7 February 1997 to the Security Council (S/1997/115). The required transitional arrangements would be financed from within the resources already allocated for the Mission by the General Assembly (see para. 14 above). Should the Security Council agree to extend the mandate of UNAVEM III, as suggested above, I would further recommend that the observer mission, to be known as the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (UNOMA), be formally established on 1 July 1997. It is my intention to submit the financial implications for UNOMA to the Council well in advance of that date.

21. The main activities of the Observer Mission, in addition to the completion of the remaining military tasks, would focus on political, police and human rights aspects, as well as on humanitarian and public information programmes aimed at supporting and consolidating the national reconciliation process, with a view to creating conditions conducive to political stability, economic and social recovery and sustainable development.


UNAVEM III - Contributions as at 10 April 1997

Country Military observers Civilian police officers Staff officers Troopsa Total
Bangladesh 10 21 11 203 245
Brazil 20 9 35 911 975
Bulgaria 10 15 - - 25
Congo 4 - - - 4
Egypt 10 15 1b - 26
France 8 - 11b - 19
Guinea-Bissau 19 4 - - 23
Hungary 10 7 - - 17
India 20 11 47 900 978
Jordan 20 22 2b - 44
Kenya 10 - - - 10
Malaysia 20 20 2b - 42
Mali 10 15 - - 25
Namibia - - 4 203 207
Netherlands 15 10 2b - 27
New Zealand 5 - 7b - 12
Nigeria 22 21 - - 43
Norway 5 - - - 5
Pakistan 10 - 15b - 25
Poland 7 - - - 7
Portugal 10 28 8 297 343
Romania - - 22 759 781
Russian Federation 11 - 2 146 159
Senegal 10 - - - 10
Slovakia 5 - - - 5
Sweden 20 10 1 - 31
Ukraine 5 - 3 1 9
United Republic of Tanzania - 3 - - 3
Uruguay 7 13 37b 16 73
Zambia 18 15 20 505 558
Zimbabwe 21 22 40 679 762
TOTAL 342 261 270c 4 620 5 493

a Including military police.

b Including military specialists in the UNAVEM III demining school and in Quartering Area Administration.

c The total figure does not include the five demining experts seconded by Germany.


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