1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 1164 (1998) of 29 April 1998, in which the Council, inter alia, requested me to report by 17 June 1998 on the status of the peace process, with additional recommendations regarding the mandate, size and organizational structure of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) or a follow-on United Nations presence in Angola after 30 June 1998 and revised estimates of the cost of that United Nations presence. It covers developments since my last report dated 16 April 1998 (S/1998/333).
II. POLITICAL ASPECTS
2. Despite strenuous efforts of my Special Representative for Angola, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, during the reporting period, no progress was achieved in the implementation of one of the last major pending tasks under the Lusaka Protocol (S/1994/1441, annex), namely, the normalization of State administration throughout the country, including in the four strategic areas of Andulo, Bailundo, Mungo and N'Harêa, which have remained under the control of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA).
3. It will be recalled that, under the 6 March 1998 timetable agreed upon by the Government and UNITA, central authority was to be established by 1 April 1998 in eight localities, including the above-mentioned four areas. On the eve of this deadline, the UNITA leader, Mr. Jonas Savimbi, sent a letter to President José Eduardo dos Santos, in which he requested that additional consultations on the normalization process be held in these localities. The Angolan President responded positively and dispatched two members of the Government to Andulo on 8 April with a written reply expressing his readiness to discuss the modalities.
4. Although on 8 and 15 April 1998, high-level meetings for the preparations of the technical phase of the normalization process took place in Andulo and Bailundo between the representatives of the Government and UNITA, no concrete measures were taken. UNITA argued that the extension of State administration in these localities would require more time in order to allow it to conduct a public awareness campaign among its supporters, and, once again, demanded the holding of further discussions. The Government, however, insisted that UNITA abide by its earlier undertakings.
5. To date, State administration has been normalized in 272 of the total of 335 localities envisaged. Apart from the areas around Andulo and Bailundo, delays in the normalization process in other localities are mainly owing to logistical difficulties, including poor infrastructure, as well as the presence of mines. It must, however, be noted that certain areas where central authority was recently restored are still unstable and the normalization process has been reversed in some of them.
6. The ruling party, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), held an ordinary session of its Central Committee on 23 and 24 April 1998, while UNITA convened a meeting of its Political Committee from 25 to 29 April to discuss the status of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. In the meantime, my Special Representative, in cooperation with the representatives of the three observer States (Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America), met on several occasions with President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, as well as with other representatives of the Government and UNITA, with a view to breaking the deadlock in the peace process, which has been accompanied by a serious deterioration of the military and security situation.
7. Furthermore, in an attempt to put the peace process back on track, my Special Representative presented, on 15 May 1998, to the Government and UNITA a "crisis resolution plan" aimed at overcoming the current impasse. The plan, which was endorsed by the Government and UNITA, as well as by the observer States on 19 May, envisaged full normalization of State administration by 31 May 1998 in the four localities mentioned above, strict verification of the alleged presence of UNITA elements throughout the country, the cessation of hostile propaganda in the Government mass media and an end to the harassment of UNITA members by the Angolan National Police (ANP). The plan also stipulated that, if either party failed to implement it, the Security Council would be requested to consider taking appropriate measures.
8. In an effort to seek regional support for his plan, Mr. Beye visited Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe from 28 to 30 May for consultations with Presidents Chiluba, Nujoma and Mugabe. On 30 May, at Mr. Savimbi's request, Mr. Beye, together with the representatives of the Troika, travelled to Andulo to discuss with the UNITA leader the status of the peace process. On the following day, the Vice-President of UNITA returned to Luanda to convey to Mr. Beye a message from Mr. Savimbi in which the UNITA leader indicated that he generally supported the 15 May plan, but presented new proposals which contained additional conditions. These proposals envisaged that the joint Government and UNITA technical teams would conduct their work in the four localities between 17 and 21 June 1998 and that the full normalization of State administration would take place by 25 June 1998.
9. The political climate was further complicated when Government representatives publicly rejected these new delays and warned of possible action unless UNITA immediately disbanded the military structure it had maintained in defiance of the Lusaka Protocol. The Government's spokesman also threatened to declare the UNITA party illegal for violating the Constitution and to close down the UNITA headquarters which was installed in Luanda on 1 June 1998.
10. In the meantime, the Joint Commission acknowledged that the Government had recently exercised restraint on the ground in dealing with UNITA supporters, as well as in the mass media, but expressed serious concern at the lack of progress in the extension of State administration owing to UNITA's persisting delays.
11. The transformation of Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility and the establishment of "Radio Despertar" are also experiencing delays. UNITA has complained about hostile propaganda in the Government-controlled mass media and hinted that it might be compelled to take "retaliatory" measures. Although the public information situation improved somewhat since 20 May, the dissemination of unverified allegations by the Government media has regrettably contributed to mutual mistrust between the two parties.
III. MILITARY AND SECURITY ASPECTS
12. The reporting period was marked by a dangerous deterioration of the security situation in various parts of the country. Armed attacks against villages, local government authorities, as well as United Nations and other international personnel, have become an almost permanent feature in the reports received from MONUA. Acts of banditry, new minelaying activities, and troop movements have also increased. The recent incidents have resulted in the loss of many lives and in the destruction of property, as well as the displacement of thousands of civilians. These worrisome developments now affect 8 out of the 18 Angolan provinces and have seriously undermined the progress achieved in the peace process.
13. Although UNITA continues to deny its involvement in these often well-coordinated attacks, it is clear that many of them were conducted by armed elements who have remained directly or indirectly under UNITA's control. On 2 May, some 400 UNITA armed elements attacked a village in the Cacolo area (Lunda Sul Province), killing several civilians. On the same day, an Angolan truck transporting passengers detonated a landmine on a road in Benguela Province and was then ambushed by a group of unidentified armed elements. Such ambushes have become almost a daily occurrence in many parts of the country. On 4 May, a staff member of Médecins Sans Frontières was seriously wounded in Huila Province when armed elements fired at his vehicle, which was clearly identified as belonging to a non-governmental organization (NGO). On 10 May, the International Medical Corps base in the village of Val de Loge, Uige Province, was attacked and all the relief items stolen, while on 24 May, the compound of another NGO in Benguela Province was assaulted, looted and burned.
14. On 19 May, a MONUA vehicle patrol was fired at in the Calandula area (Malange Province) by a group of unidentified armed elements, resulting in several casualties. One Angolan was killed and one United Nations military observer and one civilian police observer were injured. In addition, during several recent attacks, especially those in N'Gove, Chicuma and Cabinda, MONUA team sites were directly targeted; in some areas where United Nations personnel are deployed, the security situation has become extremely precarious. On 13 June, the United Nations team site at Luau (Moxico Province) was evacuated owing to the mounting tensions in the area.
15. According to reports, UNITA elements sometimes try to re-occupy small towns and strategic localities, including in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul, Benguela and Huila Provinces, often using as a pretext the heavy-handedness of ANP against local UNITA officials. Some of the localities where State administration was recently established have been abandoned by the local population and government authorities for fear of attacks by UNITA elements. In addition, the activities of MONUA and humanitarian agencies are still being hindered by restrictions on freedom of movement imposed by UNITA in some areas. MONUA reported that the normalization of State administration had been reversed in over 30 localities, and that the Government publicly acknowledged that 17 localities had been re-occupied by elements allegedly belonging to UNITA.
16. On 26 May, the Force Commander of MONUA presented to the Joint Commission a report on the verification of the demilitarization of UNITA forces, in which he concluded that a large number of UNITA cadres continue to be armed. While not all of them may be under direct control of the UNITA leadership, their attacks, in particular in Huambo, Benguela and Lunda Norte Provinces, were launched in a professional and well-coordinated manner. At the same time, MONUA had confirmed the presence of armed "residual" UNITA troops deployed in formations in Huila, Uige, Cuanza Norte, Malange, Bié, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul Provinces. However, some acts of violence could also be attributed to isolated groups who reacted to harassment by ANP.
17. Some UNITA officials and sympathizers have also been affected by numerous acts of violence. UNITA claimed that seven of its members were killed by Angolan forces near Negage on 6 or 7 May. In many instances, gross human rights abuses, including the killing of local UNITA functionaries in Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, and Lunda Norte Provinces and harassment of UNITA members, have been confirmed by MONUA. UNITA representatives have abandoned their offices in some areas because of real or perceived persecution by the ANP.
18. Recently, MONUA observed various movements of the Angolan Armed Forces, including in Malange, Uige, Huambo, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul Provinces.
19. In the wake of the attacks against United Nations personnel, MONUA had to suspend patrols and investigations in Malange, Huambo, Huila and Benguela Provinces for two weeks. However, following some improvement in security conditions, MONUA resumed verification and patrol activities, accompanied by additional tight security measures, including protection by the remaining United Nations troops. However, restrictions imposed by UNITA and frequent lack of cooperation from the Government and UNITA liaison officers have slowed down investigations in various parts of the country.
20. The repatriation of United Nations military personnel from Angola was resumed, as requested by the Security Council in paragraph 9 of resolution 1164 (1998) dated 29 April. The Zambian infantry company, together with a small number from the formed units and some military support elements, have already been withdrawn. In view of the dangerous security situation in the country, I decided to postpone the drawdown of formed units until the end of June. The possibility of adapting the concept of operations to the new situation is also being considered. The remaining three infantry companies and small support units will provide minimum security to United Nations personnel and assist in verification functions conducted by unarmed military and police observers. The infantry companies will operate from six main bases, which are mostly located in Government-controlled areas, and would obviously have only very limited rapid reaction capability. At present, the strength of MONUA's military and police personnel stands at 414 troops belonging to three infantry companies, 302 military support personnel (medical, air, logistics and communication), 39 staff officers, 90 military observers and 336 police observers.
IV. POLICE ASPECTS
21. The civilian police component of MONUA (CIVPOL) continued, to the extent possible, to perform the tasks described in my reports of 13 March (S/1998/236, para. 18) and 16 April 1998 (S/1998/333, para. 15). Civilian police observers monitored the neutrality of ANP, and in collaboration with the human rights component of MONUA, investigated human rights violations and visited prisons and detention centres. Frequent patrols were conducted in an attempt to monitor the free movement of people and goods. CIVPOL has also been monitoring the security arrangements for UNITA leaders, particularly in Luanda.
22. With the increase in acts of banditry, the proliferation of weapons in the hands of the civilian population is one of the major threats to security in Angola. In this context, CIVPOL has been urging the Government to take urgent measures to disarm the civilian population in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol. Although the Government claims that it is conducting the disarmament exercise, its cooperation with MONUA remains inadequate. MONUA is not always informed of disarmament operations, which seem to focus mainly on areas formerly controlled by UNITA. CIVPOL's verification of acts of banditry, including attacks on MONUA's personnel and property and United Nations agencies and NGOs, is often impeded by restrictions and lack of cooperation from both the Government and UNITA. Regarding the training programme for ANP in internationally accepted police procedures and standards, including respect and protection of human rights, the ANP Commander General has appointed senior officers to discuss with MONUA the modalities of such a programme.
V. HUMAN RIGHTS ASPECTS
23. In the course of its promotion activities for the respect of human rights, the Human Rights Division worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to prepare its second national seminar on "The citizen and justice", and assisted in the establishment of local human rights committees, especially in Uige, Lunda Sul, Benguela and Cuando Cubango Provinces.
24. The recent military actions launched by UNITA elements have resulted in dramatic deterioration of the human rights environment in the country. At the same time, some ANP elements continued to commit serious human rights violations, especially in areas where State administration was established recently, and during the disarmament of the civilian population. The abuses include extrajudicial executions, torture, rape, arbitrary arrest and detention. As a result of widespread impunity, most UNITA and government perpetrators of gross human rights violations are not brought to justice. The lack of access has also made it difficult to further investigate reports of extrajudicial executions and torture in areas under UNITA's control, especially in the Malange and Uige Provinces.
25. The judicial system continues to suffer from an acute lack of human and physical resources, which results in gross violations of detainees' rights. It is, therefore, a priority for MONUA's human rights component, in coordination with the Government and United Nations agencies, to enhance its programme of assistance aimed at strengthening Angolan judicial institutions. In April and May 1998, human rights officers visited prisons in Benguela, Cuando Cubango and Huambo Provinces and Luanda, and discussed with local authorities measures that could be taken to alleviate the severe conditions of detention.
VI. HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS
A. Relief and rehabilitation
26. During the reporting period, humanitarian organizations continued to register a rapid increase in the number of newly displaced persons, as a result of the high level of insecurity described in section III above. Despite the return of some newly displaced persons earlier this year, recent displacements have resulted in their estimated total number in Angola climbing to over 1 million.
27. In the tense security climate, humanitarian organizations operating in Malange, Huambo, Benguela and Huila Provinces had to suspend their activities temporarily and withdraw some of their personnel to provincial capitals, while reviewing the contingency plans for possible evacuation. At the same time, the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit is assisting humanitarian organizations in building capacity to respond to the high level of insecurity. Until the security situation improves, priority humanitarian assistance in support of the returnees and their reintegration in some areas will be temporarily suspended. Some essential humanitarian programmes will, nonetheless, continue to be carried out in Bengo, Kwanza Sul and Moxico Provinces.
28. In view of the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in several provinces, United Nations agencies and NGOs are currently reviewing their rapid response capacity, while at the same time facing severe funding difficulties. Urgent funding is also required for the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (US$ 11 million), the International Organization for Migration (US$ 3.4 million) and the United Nations Children's Fund (US$ 2.6 million). If no additional funds are received before the end of June 1998, these organizations will have to reduce their activities in the country drastically. Additional resources are also urgently needed for the air transportation service managed by the World Food Programme (WFP) on behalf of the humanitarian agencies operating in Angola.
29. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, visited Angola between 18 and 21 May 1998 to support the humanitarian community and review the role of the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit in responding to the emergency humanitarian situation. He also consulted with the Government on ways in which it could effectively assume the lead role in the humanitarian field, and encouraged donors to contribute to the 1998 Consolidated Appeal, which has so far received a poor response. The Government and UNITA were informed that protracted humanitarian assistance was not acceptable and that donor fatigue could ensue unless the parties demonstrated political will to improve the prevailing humanitarian conditions. Both parties were also called upon to refrain from the indiscriminate practice of laying new mines. Grave concern was expressed about the safety of the field staff of United Nations agencies and NGOs during the period of drawdown of MONUA military personnel. In view of Angola's limited capacity to assume a coordination role in the humanitarian field, humanitarian support from donor countries is urgently required. Otherwise, as ever, the losers will be the long-suffering population of Angola.
B. Demobilization and reintegration
30. The United Nations has initiated discussions with the Government concerning the establishment of the preliminary framework for the demobilization of military war disabled of the Angolan Armed Forces, and the Government is expected to provide the United Nations with the necessary information about this category of soldiers. According to the existing plans, this vulnerable group will have access to reintegration projects initiated under the Government National Programme for the Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Military Personnel and to a pension provided by the Government. The target group includes approximately 6,000 persons and will require about US$ 2.5 million for related demobilization activities.
31. With regard to the socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants, over 6,000 newly demobilized ex-combatants have been registered by the Counselling and Referral Service (SeCOR) since the end of March 1998. By early May, food had been distributed to more than 27,500 beneficiaries by WFP. The social reintegration programme has assisted in training social promoters and has launched more than 150 different quick impact projects benefiting 5,000 persons, provided vocational training to 6,000 beneficiaries and distributed professional tool kits to 2,800 demobilized soldiers. However, SeCOR and vocational training programmes funded by the international community are facing a severe budgetary shortfall, amounting to US$ 10 million.
32. Surveys by international demining NGOs aimed at gathering information on the locations of mined areas are being conducted countrywide. So far, the surveys have covered 12 of the 18 provinces. With regard to mine marking and clearance, the achievements have been limited, given the size of the country, the security situation, the severity of the mine problem and shortage of financial and human resources. The project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is supported by the National Mine Action Institute, is being carried out to develop maps covering minefields identified for future marking and clearance. Efforts are also being made by the Institute to improve the coordination of all mine action activities in the country. However, the UNDP-supported demining programme continues to face major financial constraints. Some demining NGOs are also facing similar problems. Therefore, voluntary contributions from the donor community are urgently needed to pursue these vital programmes.
VII. SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS
33. Angola is experiencing an economic crisis similar to that in 1996, which led to the introduction of the "Programa Nova Vida" by President dos Santos. The country's macroeconomic problems are characterized by a recession, increasing inflation rate, high and fluctuating foreign exchange rates, inability of the Government to meet other forms of current expenditure except wages, and acute shortage of foreign exchange for regular business transactions, as well as the total absence of new investments in the country. The above-mentioned factors have been compounded by a persistent budget deficit.
34. The positive efforts made by the Angolan Government to reduce the high rates of monthly inflation achieved results largely through the non-payment of the Government's internal debt. Not only have prices of goods and services for the average consumer reached very high levels, but the country may once again be on the threshold of a new spiral of inflation. The latest information on prices indicate that monthly inflation rates for March and April were over 5 per cent, which could lead to an annual rate of inflation exceeding 64 per cent. Foreign exchange rates on the parallel market, where the majority of the population and businesses operate, and which are nearly twice the official exchange rate, have recently increased from 400,000 new kwanzas (NKz) to the United States dollar to 510,000 NKz.
35. The current economic difficulties have been compounded by the low price of oil on the world market. Though more discoveries of oil were made recently, it will take quite some time before the new oilfields become operational. The decline in the world price of oil from US$ 19 per barrel to about US$ 11 could have serious implications for the overall performance of the economy, balance of payments, and Government finances. With the current situation, the budget deficit for the first half of the year is likely to rise considerably. At the moment, only salaries are being paid by the Government. Civil servants do not have the appropriate logistical support to perform their daily tasks, which often results in a low level of productivity.
36. The recent mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Angola, which included officials from the World Bank and the European Union, allowed the Government and IMF to assess the overall performance of the Angolan economy and discuss the possibility for an IMF-monitored programme. Prior to the IMF mission, the World Bank had undertaken a similar mission to assess the country's socio-economic situation.
VIII. FINANCIAL ASPECTS
37. As indicated in my report of 16 March 1998 (A/52/799/Add.1), the proposed budget for the maintenance of MONUA for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 amounts to $140.8 million gross. Pending the submission of further recommendations on the United Nations presence in Angola after 30 June 1998, I requested the General Assembly for an initial bridging appropriation of $43.6 million gross, equivalent to a monthly rate of $10.9 million gross, for the period from 1 July to 31 October 1998. A review of my request has been completed by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the Fifth Committee and I expect the General Assembly to adopt the financing resolution shortly.
38. Therefore, should the Council decide to extend the mandate of MONUA to 31 August 1998, as recommended in paragraph 44 below, the cost of maintaining the Observer Mission during the extension period would be limited to the monthly bridging appropriation requested.
39. As at 15 June 1998, unpaid assessed contributions to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM)/MONUA special account for the period since the inception of the Mission to 30 April 1998 amounted to $89.9 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations as at 15 June 1998 was $1,530.8 million.
40. Since my last report, the situation in Angola has continued to deteriorate quickly and has become critical. It is clear that this deterioration is attributable, for the most part, to the failure of UNITA to fulfil its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and to implement the well-balanced plan which my Special Representative offered to the parties on 15 May. Continued procrastination in the extension of State administration, and the new conditions posed by UNITA in this regard, undermine confidence in its leadership's commitment to peace.
41. Some of the recent statements reportedly made by Mr. Savimbi can only increase the very serious concern of the international community, which I share, regarding the current situation in Angola. In a meeting held in Bailundo on 6 June, the UNITA leader reportedly told his supporters that the imposition of additional sanctions would be considered as an attack against UNITA, to which it should be "ready to respond". According to some reports, Mr. Savimbi said that, as a result, he "would not be able" to hand over Bailundo and Andulo to the Government. At the same time, speaking at a press conference on 10 June, President dos Santos stated that it was still possible to save the Angolan peace process in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol and that his Government would continue, until the end of June, to work with the international community to seek a peaceful solution.
42. It is clear that developments in Angola are reaching a critical watershed. I hope that the adoption of Security Council resolution 1173 (1998) on 12 June 1998 will encourage the UNITA leadership to take the decisive last steps to complete the peace process and honour the obligation they assumed freely in November 1994. Clearly, these steps would be in UNITA's best interests and would open the door to its full participation in the future political life of Angola. To do otherwise would deny Angola another opportunity to attain the lasting peace which its long-suffering people so deserve.
43. I, therefore, join the Security Council in its strong appeal to UNITA to cooperate with the United Nations in the immediate extension of State administration through the national territory and, in particular, to the four strategic locations of Andulo, Bailundo, Mungo and N'Harêa. I am also very concerned about the fact that UNITA appears to have retained a large number of troops, and would like to reiterate my belief that the conclusion of the peace process will not be possible without its full demilitarization. In the meantime, the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation should for its part exercise restraint and avoid any action which might further undermine the peace process. Needless to say, I am extremely alarmed by the deterioration of security conditions in Angola and deplore the acts of violence committed against the personnel and property of the United Nations and other international organizations which are providing assistance to the Angolan people.
44. In anticipation that the urgent appeals of the international community will be heeded, I believe that the United Nations should continue to assist the Angolan people in restoring peace and national reconciliation. Accordingly, if the demands contained in Security Council resolution 1173 (1998) are duly implemented, I would recommend that the mandate of MONUA be extended for two months, until 31 August 1998, and that the strength of MONUA be maintained at the present level, as described in paragraph 20 above. MONUA would continue to operate on the basis of the mandate and organizational structure outlined in my previous reports to the Security Council (S/1998/236 and S/1998/333). It would also be prepared to support, within the means at its disposal, the full extension of State administration, including Andulo, Bailundo, Mungo and N'Harêa.
45. On the other hand, should it become clear that there is no political will to complete the peace process expeditiously, I intend to resume the withdrawal of United Nations troops in accordance with resolution 1164 (1998) of 29 April 1998 and to stop the deployment to Angola of the additional police observers whose presence was intended to enhance confidence between the parties and to consolidate MONUA's deployment throughout the country. It would also become necessary in such a situation to review the United Nations involvement in Angola.
46. In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to my Special Representative and to all MONUA personnel, as well as the staff of United Nations programmes and agencies and non-governmental organizations for the courage and dedication they have demonstrated in the discharge of their mandate and for the excellent work they have done to bring peace to Angola, despite difficult and sometimes hazardous circumstances.