Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA)

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 1135 (1997) of 29 October 1997, in which the Council, inter alia, requested me to present recommendations on the United Nations presence in Angola after 30 January 1998. It also covers developments since my last report, dated 4 December 1997 (S/1997/959).

II. POLITICAL ASPECTS

2. During the period under review, my Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, continued intensive consultations with President José Eduardo dos Santos and Mr. Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), with a view to accelerating the implementation of the remaining tasks under the Lusaka Protocol (S/1994/1441, annex). In his meeting with Mr. Savimbi on 13 December 1997, my Special Representative once again urged UNITA to complete all its obligations under the peace process without further delay. The UNITA leader complained about what he characterized as a lack of appreciation by the international community of efforts by UNITA to fulfil its remaining obligations. On 17 December, the Government proposed a new timetable for the implementation of the pending tasks under the Lusaka Protocol before the middle of January 1998. After preliminary discussions with the Government, UNITA came up with counter-proposals, which included additional tasks and new dates for the proposed implementation timetable. These proposals, together with a written message from Mr. Savimbi, were presented to President dos Santos on 9 January 1998. On the same day, Mr. Savimbi telephoned the President, and it was agreed to continue bilateral consultations in order to reach a consensus timetable. Such a timetable was presented to the Joint Commission and approved on the evening of 9 January 1998. It foresees the completion of the remaining tasks in February 1998.

3. My Special Representative has on several occasions transmitted messages between President dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi, particularly with regard to their long-awaited meeting inside Angola. The Angolan President discussed this matter with Mr. Savimbi on the telephone on 15 December 1997, and both leaders agreed to set up a working group to prepare for such a meeting.

4. The Joint Commission continued actively to steer the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. The Commission, together with the representatives of the three observer States (Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States of America), visited various areas of Angola to investigate complaints by the parties and to help advance the peace process at the local level.

5. The normalization of State administration in UNITA-controlled areas, which began on 30 April 1997, has proceeded at a very slow and uneven pace. The process of extension, which was suspended on 1 November 1997 owing to a lack of cooperation by UNITA, was resumed on 22 November 1997. As of 8 January 1998, central government authority had been established in 239 out of a total of 344 localities envisaged in the peace plan. It is now expected that this crucial process would be completed by the end of January 1998, at the earliest. While State administration has been extended to three strategically important areas - Cuango, Mavinga and Negage - it still remains to be extended to UNITA strongholds in Andulo and Bailundo.

6. As indicated in my previous reports, the normalization process has encountered serious political and logistical difficulties. These include lack of cooperation by UNITA militants in certain areas of the country and the inability of the Government to provide adequate logistical support. At the same time, strong accusations and counter-accusations by the Government and UNITA of gross violations of human rights has led to tensions between the two parties. The United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) has been able to verify some of the accusations made by both the Government and UNITA. Regrettably, there have been incidents in which UNITA militants were attacked, harassed and arbitrarily detained by local government elements; MONUA has been actively pursuing all these cases. In several provinces, the Intersectoral Operational Groups responsible for the normalization of State administration, in which the representatives of the Government, UNITA and MONUA participate, have visited affected areas in order to take corrective measures. These province-based bodies have become important conflict resolution mechanisms since the new authorities have been installed in various areas of the country.

7. Regarding the transformation of Radio Vorgan into a non-partisan broadcasting facility, on 4 December 1997 my Special Representative met with the management team of "Rádio Despertar", the station which is to replace Radio Vorgan. The team once again raised several practical problems that they claimed were hindering their efforts, including the difficulties related to the acquisition of premises. My Special Representative discussed these issues during his meeting with President dos Santos on 8 December 1997, as well as during his meeting with the Angolan Prime Minister. Both promised to assist in the removal of the administrative obstacles, and it appears that what now remains to make "Rádio Despertar" operational is the acquisition of the necessary equipment.

8. Since the coming into force of the new sanctions against UNITA on 30 October 1997, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) of 15 September 1993, adopted a new set of guidelines for the conduct of its work in the light of the additional tasks mandated to it under paragraph 11 of resolution 1127 (1997) of 28 August 1997. By a note verbale of 19 December 1997, the Committee transmitted to all Member States and international organizations/specialized agencies, for their information and use as necessary, a list of 11 UNITA senior officials whose entry into or transit through territories of Member States is to be prevented by all States, and whose travel documents, visas or residence permits are to be suspended or cancelled in accordance with paragraphs 4 (a) and (b) of Resolution 1127 (1997). A press release was also issued on this subject. In accordance with paragraph 8 of resolution 1135 (1997) of 29 October 1997, Member States were required to provide information to the Committee on the measures they had adopted to implement the sanctions against UNITA. As of 31 December, 29 States had replied to the Committee.

III. MILITARY AND POLICE ASPECTS

9. Since my last report to the Security Council (S/1997/959), tensions have decreased between the parties throughout the country, despite the continuing frictions between local government authorities and UNITA militants in Uige and Malange provinces, as well as in Cuango municipality of Lunda Norte Province, some of which led to incidents of ceasefire violations. In Bie and Moxico provinces, incidents with recently laid mines are the cause of particular concern, while Benguela and Huila provinces continue to be affected by widespread acts of banditry, which destabilize the security situation in those regions.

10. Registration and disarmament of the residual UNITA military personnel, which had been continuing for four months, was formally concluded on 22 December 1997. A total of 7,877 UNITA soldiers had been registered, while 7,234 weapons, including cannons and air defence guns, as well as ammunition of various calibres amounting to more than 57,000,000 rounds, had been handed over. Demobilization in situ is in progress, and, as of 9 January 1998, 1,223 residual UNITA troops had been demobilized. Although it was intended to complete this exercise by the end of December 1997, the technical difficulties, including the non-availability of government funds and support personnel and the delay by UNITA in gathering the registered soldiers, hindered the process. At the same time, it should be noted that reports persist that UNITA continues to regroup its military elements in some areas of Angola, and their presence is still visible in and around Andulo and Balundo.

11. The plan for the downsizing of the MONUA military component and for the repatriation of United Nations formed units is being implemented by the Mission, as approved by the Security Council. The repatriation of formed units and staff officers commenced on 3 December 1997, and their strength had been reduced to 1,604 as at 9 January 1998. Since November 1997, 8 military observer team sites have been closed and 15 team sites have been handed over to the civilian police component of the Mission. The present drawdown plan envisages the closure of an additional three team sites and withdrawal from seven team sites by 31 January 1998. The overall strength of military observers is expected to be reduced to 90 officers by 31 January 1998.

12. The civilian police observers continued to conduct patrols, liaise with local officials and monitor the activities of the Angolan National Police (ANP) in order to ensure its neutrality and guarantee respect for human rights, as well as the free movement of people and goods. The civilian police has also been involved in conducting extensive public awareness campaigns during the process of the normalization of State administration. In view of the persistent reports of human rights abuses perpetrated by some ANP elements, MONUA believes that it is very important to resume the training programme for the ANP on the universally accepted standards of police conduct.

13. Pursuant to the Lusaka Protocol, the civilian police has been monitoring the Government's collection of weapons from the civilian population. In view of the UNITA allegations that these operations involved serious abuses of human rights, the Joint Commission called upon the Government to suspend the disarming of the civilian population until the process of normalization of State administration was concluded throughout the country. While the collection of weapons from the civilians is vital to the consolidation of peace and security, it is absolutely essential that this exercise be undertaken with due regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

IV. HUMAN RIGHTS ASPECTS

14. With only modest resources at its disposal, the Human Rights Division of MONUA continued to monitor the human rights situation in the country and to organize public awareness campaigns. In collaboration with the civilian police, various human rights activities were carried out in the provinces as well as in Luanda. The ad hoc group of the Joint Commission on allegations of human rights violations has considered 50 individual cases of such allegations and made its recommendations to the Commission, which endorsed them on 4 December 1997. Human rights officers also participated in investigations of the allegations of the UNITA leadership that their militants and sympathizers were being deliberately harassed by the ANP. At its 4 December meeting, the Commission once again underlined the importance of respect for human rights for the consolidation of peace in Angola, and stressed the need to deploy human rights officers in all 18 provinces of Angola. At the moment, United Nations human rights observers are present in only seven provinces.

V. HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS

A. Relief and rehabilitation

15. The continuing arrival of internally displaced persons in some areas of the country remains one of the major sources of concern. Because of persistent acts of banditry in Huila and Benguela provinces, more than 10,000 people have fled from their villages to towns, including Chongoroi, Cubal and Matala. In Lunda Norte Province, approximately 9,000 persons have been displaced in the area of Calonda as a result of military activity in nearby villages. These and other displaced populations are being assisted by the United Nations, its programmes and agencies as well as non-governmental organizations, despite the lack of adequate resources available to the humanitarian organizations. While the new 1998 consolidated inter-agency appeal for Angola is being finalized, it is worthwhile to note that the response to the 1997 appeal generated only 44 per cent of the required funds. The strategy of the 1998 appeal will be to focus on emergency and humanitarian assistance programmes, with a view towards launching longer-range rehabilitation and development programmes. It is anticipated that the appeal will be reviewed in six month's time so that adjustments can be made to reflect the actual humanitarian situation on the ground.

16. In the meantime, the Government has requested humanitarian assistance for more than 3,000 Angolan refugees who have returned to Cabinda Province. The recent joint mission to Cabinda of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme (WFP) was not in a position to assess the humanitarian situation there owing to heightened tensions resulting from the military activities in the area.

B. Demobilization and reintegration

17. A total of 78,887 UNITA troops were registered in the 15 quartering areas and 7 centres for the war-disabled between November 1995 and December 1997. Under the demobilization programme, 41,796 UNITA soldiers have been demobilized (including 4,799 under-age soldiers and 10,728 war-disabled soldiers), while 10,880 were incorporated into the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA). Approximately 25,000 former troops have deserted the quartering areas. However, it has been agreed that these deserters will have the opportunity to be demobilized under different arrangements by June 1998. In addition, a total of 7,877 "residual" UNITA forces have been registered, and their demobilization is planned to be completed by the end of January 1998. The subsequent closing of the quartering areas and the centres for the war-disabled marks an important stage in the Angolan peace process.

18. Although the Government's programme of social reintegration of demobilized soldiers was adopted in August 1996, the services of the Social and Counselling Programme (SeCoR) for the demobilized, the quick impact projects and vocational training have been available in all provinces only for the last six months. By the end of 1997, some 16,000 former soldiers had been registered by SeCoR. The second instalment of cash subsidies was distributed by the Government to approximately 6,500 ex-combatants. The second ration of food assistance was provided to 5,500 former soldiers by WFP, and some 2,000 demobilized soldiers are currently involved in quick impact projects, while another 3,000 soldiers are participating in vocational training. In addition, the ex-combatants have received 1,800 professional tool kits. The main constraints encountered by this programme are the delays in the delivery of government subsidies, confiscations by unauthorized personnel of demobilization documents of ex-combatants and the fact that main groups of ex-soldiers are concentrated in the areas that were not originally chosen by them as final destination points. SeCoR will be reviewed in the beginning of 1998.

C. Demining

19. The scope of the mine problem in Angola remains a serious impediment to the resettlement of internally displaced persons, the reintegration of ex-combatants and the resumption of normal agricultural and commercial activities in many areas of the country. The national demining programme, which is being coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), supports the activity of the National Institute for the Removal of Unexploded Ordnance (INAROE) and has assisted in the training of some 50 senior and middle-level managers who are now employed in INAROE central and regional offices. Approximately 50 demining instructors, mine mappers, surveyors, radio operators and explosive ordnance disposal technicians have also been trained. However, owing to various constraints, such as shortage of equipment and funds from both national and international sources, only 7 out of the 18 Angolan demining brigades are now operational.

20. By the end of 1997, almost 50 per cent of the country's territory had been surveyed for mines, covering the areas where about 80 per cent of the Angolan population lives. Out of an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 minefields, 1,800 minefields have been identified. As regards "level-two" mine survey, which involves mine marking, and "level-three" surveys, focusing on mine clearance, the overall progress has been limited because of the size of the country, the severity of the mine problem and the shortage of funds and trained human resources. So far, 700 square kilometres have been demined and approximately 10,000 mines out of an estimated total of 6 to 8 million have been cleared. Additional funding aimed at supporting the activities of INAROE, the requirements of which are now estimated at US$ 10 million, would allow INAROE to expand its operations and to give priority to the areas with high population concentration or high density of mine contamination and areas targeted for resettlement and development activities.

VI. SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS

21. The Angolan economy is still being affected by considerable distortions and macroeconomic instability. In 1996, the account deficit remained high, the gross domestic product (GDP) declined slightly and the fiscal deficit continued to be unsustainable. Nevertheless, the Government reduced the growth of the money supply and of the level of prices in 1997 by continuing its policy of non-payment of some wages and other domestic expenditures. Therefore, pressures on government spending linked to the consolidation of peace and the national reconciliation process, particularly those related to the normalization of State administration and to the rehabilitation of roads, bridges and official buildings, continued to be very high throughout 1997, and are expected to remain substantial in 1998. According to the UNDP 1997 Human Development Report for Angola, the values for the index for human poverty are high for all regions of Angola, with the most affected being Zaire, Uige and Malange provinces in the north and Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul and Moxico provinces in the east of the country. These regional inequalities make the northern and eastern regions extremely high risk areas owing to the prevailing poor living conditions of the rural population. In the case of Luanda and other major cities, the freeze in the payment of wages, which was lifted in December 1997, and other Government domestic debts, as well as arrears to the local private sector, contribute to exacerbating the high level of social tensions.

22. On 12 December 1997, the Council of Ministers adopted the Government's economic stabilization and economic recovery programme, a medium-term programme covering the period 1998-2000. Inspired by the fiscal and monetary discipline introduced in 1997, this document, which was prepared with the technical assistance and funding of UNDP, provides a comprehensive set of major economic and social targets that may pave the way for the Government's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Technical and financial assistance will be required in coming years to help the Government address critical gaps in capacity-building, statistical system development and resource mobilization, including external debt relief and rescheduling. In this regard, the preparation of a fully fledged economic management capacity-building programme, for which UNDP is providing assistance, has entered its final stage. Sweden and the European Community have expressed interest in co-funding this programme.

23. Several foreign trade delegations have visited Angola in the last few months, which is a possible indication of increased confidence in the prospects for lasting peace and social and economic stabilization. In addition to the traditional oil sector, these potential investors have explored opportunities in other sectors of the economy where Angola offers impressive potential. Similar missions are being planned for 1998. The community rehabilitation and national reconciliation programme, which provides the national framework for channelling resources to stimulate local projects, has so far been implemented only to a limited extent. The overall rehabilitation programme is expected to be examined in February 1998, with a view to assessing the impediments to progress and to rendering it more efficient.

VII. PROPOSED CONTINUATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS PRESENCE IN ANGOLA

24. Since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol, the peace process in Angola has clearly shown progress, resulting in a two-year period of relative peace in the country. Active dialogue between the Government and UNITA was maintained at various levels and has led to the formation of the joint armed forces and the national police force, as well as the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. With the completion of many tasks by the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III (UNAVEM III), its successor, MONUA, was mandated by the Security Council to help in enhancing confidence-building and in creating an environment conducive to long-term stability, democratic development and rehabilitation of the country.

25. These tasks remain as vital and urgent today as they were six months ago, when MONUA was established by the Security Council in its resolution 1118 (1997) of 1 July 1997, with the expectation of the full completion of the mandate of the Mission by 1 February 1998. I believe that in the present circumstances the continued presence of the United Nations in Angola would be necessary, although at a reduced level. Not only would such a presence be indispensable for the completion of all the mandated tasks of MONUA, but it would also be essential for the promotion of stability, as well as the protection of individual rights in Angola, in order to create the conditions required for the future elections. It should be recalled that, in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol, the United Nations was requested to play a special role in future Angolan elections.

26. Despite the progress achieved since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol, the Angolan peace process has proceeded much slower than expected. As a result, many of the activities of MONUA have been concentrated on the residual tasks of UNAVEM III. The three major pending tasks, namely the demilitarization of UNITA forces, the normalization of State administration throughout the national territory and the transformation of the UNITA radio remain to be completed. Also, the continuing existence of armed UNITA elements and the difficulties related to the coexistence of local authorities and UNITA militants and the need to stabilize the political situation represent serious challenges to national reconciliation and reconstruction. It would, therefore, be necessary for the international community to continue to assist the Angolan people in consolidating peace and stability in their country.

27. The United Nations, with the support of the three observer States, has played a pivotal role in helping the two signatories to the Lusaka Protocol overcome their deep-rooted mutual mistrust. I believe that their involvement continues to be very important for the advancement of the peace process. I also encourage all Member States concerned to stay engaged in helping the Angolans to achieve the long-awaited settlement.

28. Should the Security Council authorize the continuation of the United Nations operation in Angola, I propose that MONUA carry out its activities on the basis of the mandate and organizational structure approved by the Security Council in its Resolution 1118 (1997), with some adjustments as described below.

29. In view of the experience of the United Nations involvement in Angola, I think it would be important for my Special Representative to continue to provide good offices to the parties and to chair the Joint Commission. He would be assisted by a Deputy Special Representative and a sufficient number of substantive staff, as well as the necessary administrative and other support staff. He would also continue to coordinate activities of United Nations agencies, programmes and funds with a view to consolidating the gains in the peace process.

A. Political and human rights components and public information capacity

30. In view of the political nature of most of the remaining tasks, it is recommended that the MONUA Division of Political Affairs operate at the mandated strength. Political affairs officers would continue to be stationed in all provinces to verify the normalization of State administration, participate in local conflict-resolution mechanisms and provide good offices. At the same time, political observers would monitor the participation of UNITA members in the political, economic and social sectors of national life in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol. Moreover, senior political affairs officers would assume the critical role of coordinating MONUA activities at the regional level.

31. As a result of the protracted conflict, Angola still needs international assistance in fostering a culture of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is significant that both parties continue to support the enhanced role of the United Nations in this area. While UNAVEM III and MONUA have monitored the human rights situation closely in some areas of the country, difficulties and delays in the recruitment of United Nations human rights observers have affected the scope of investigations into alleged violations of individual rights and advocacy programmes. Additional steps are being taken to strengthen the Human Rights Division as mandated. Under the supervision of my Special Representative and the guidance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, this component would continue to promote awareness of human rights issues and investigate allegations of abuses, which are the source of major concern. It would also assist in the capacity-building of national institutions and non-governmental organizations.

32. The current stage of the peace process demands particular attention to the dissemination of impartial information throughout Angola. MONUA efforts in this area have already contributed to the creation of an environment conducive to national reconciliation and respect for law and fundamental rights. Therefore, it would be desirable to strengthen the public information network of the Mission by enhancing the United Nations information dissemination capacity in some of the key regions of the country, which would require a modest increase in resources.

B. Civilian police component

33. Civilian police observers play a vital role in monitoring the neutrality and overall conduct of the Angolan National Police, especially in the areas where the normalization of State administration has taken place, in order to prevent the abuse of power and the violation of civil and political rights. In this capacity, the civilian police component would continue to work closely with the human rights component of MONUA. In addition to other tasks, civilian police officers would continue to monitor the collection of weapons from the civilian population and follow closely matters related to the security arrangements for UNITA leaders. With the withdrawal of most military units, the civilian police component will be critical to the building of trust and the restoration of confidence among all segments of the population.

34. The mandated strength of the civilian police component currently stands at 345 observers, who are deployed at 46 team sites throughout the country and at headquarters in Luanda. Once military observers are withdrawn from most of the team sites, it is proposed that the total number of civilian police locations be increased. This is necessitated by the prevailing tense situation in some areas of the country. Therefore, in principle, I would recommend an increase in the overall strength of the civilian police component, which would allow MONUA to cope with the growing activities in this vital area. To address the most immediate needs, a moderate increase in the strength of the civilian police would be required during the next two months. In view of the importance of the civilian police operations, their logistical support has to be substantially reinforced. To the extent possible, the military component will provide assistance and support as required to the civilian police.

C. Military component

35. As members of the Security Council are aware, the overall security situation in many parts of Angola remains precarious. In order to enable the United Nations and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to carry out their mandated tasks in an environment of confidence and safety, it would be crucial to retain in the Mission a military task force composed of up to four infantry companies, whose total strength, including appropriate support troops, would be up to 910 personnel, a significant reduction from the present level (see annex). These companies would be deployed in strategically important regions and would be adequately equipped to respond to the challenging security needs. This small force would also assist in the accomplishment of the residual military tasks, including the demobilization of former UNITA personnel and the collection of their weapons and ammunition, as well as the monitoring of the free movement of goods and people throughout the country. In this context, the retention of the military helicopter unit would be vital for effective and rapid intervention, as well as for medical and other emergency evacuation purposes.

36. The proposed organizational structure of the military task force would require adequate command and support, which could be limited to 45 military staff officers deployed at force/regional headquarters. The 90 military observers who would be retained in the Mission would continue to investigate ceasefire violations, troop movements, the presence of UNITA armed elements and the discovery of weapons caches, as well as to monitor the dismantling of UNITA command posts. The remaining personnel of the military component of MONUA would be withdrawn from Angola by the beginning of February 1998.

D. Humanitarian component

37. As indicated in my previous report to the Security Council of 4 December 1997 (S/1997/959), the activities of the Demobilization and Reintegration Office of this component will require assessed budget funding through March 1998 to ensure that the programmes are completed in a timely manner. The remaining humanitarian functions would continue to be undertaken through donor funding.

E. Administrative component

38. Since my last report to the Security Council (S/1997/959), the administrative component of the Mission has continued to carry out simultaneously several key tasks, including the withdrawal of formed military units, the relocation and reconfiguration of a number of MONUA team sites and the closure of quartering areas. These new activities, in addition to those of maintaining and supporting the Mission, which is deployed over the vast territory of Angola and is operating in an extremely difficult environment, have considerably strained the material and human resources of MONUA, which need to be strengthened. Sufficient resources will also be required to proceed with the liquidation process of UNAVEM III, which is behind schedule owing to the need to address other pressing logistical tasks.

39. To continue to support crucial programmes of MONUA and to ensure its effective operation, the replacement of a considerable amount of obsolete equipment, in particular computers and vehicles, would be absolutely necessary. Equally, it is strongly recommended to retain the services of heavy-lift aircraft until the final withdrawal of all United Nations formed military units. At the same time, authorization for increased helicopter operations would be required in view of various unexpected activities, including those related to demobilization and normalization of State administration. Some additional resources would also be required for the maintenance and upgrading of the team sites.

VIII. FINANCIAL ASPECTS

40. In the light of the delays in the peace process, the increase in the responsibilities of MONUA and the additional requirements for its operation, an addendum to the present report containing the cost implications will be issued separately. Given the advanced stage of the peace process, I appeal to the two parties to provide additional financial and in-kind contributions to various activities associated with the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, in particular with the extension of State administration.

IX. OBSERVATIONS

41. Despite the extensive efforts undertaken by the Angolan parties themselves towards the consolidation of peace in their country and the continued assistance provided by the international community, certain important tasks remain to be completed in order to conclude the peace process in Angola. While significant progress has no doubt been achieved towards this goal, and the Government and UNITA continue to express their willingness to fulfil their remaining obligations, persistent delays in the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol continue to be a source of serious concern.

42. There is an urgent need for both parties, but in particular UNITA, to display a greater sense of urgency in carrying out the Lusaka agreements and the relevant Security Council resolutions. It is obvious that additional effort should be made to complete without procrastination the key aspects of the peace process: full normalization of State administration throughout the country, including the areas of Andulo and Bailundo; demobilization of UNITA troops; and transformation of the UNITA radio into a non-partisan facility. In addition, UNITA has to take decisive steps towards its transformation into a purely political party, declare that it has no more armed personnel or weapons under its control and move its leadership to Luanda. Equally, the international community is expecting that the Government will foster a climate of confidence so that the peace process can continue in an atmosphere of trust and security.

43. While the presence of the United Nations in Angola is much needed to implement the remaining provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and to enhance confidence in this war-torn nation, I believe that the extension of the MONUA mandate should take into account the real commitment of both parties to respect their obligations and to expedite the peace process. In this connection, I welcome the agreement reached on 9 January 1998 on the new implementation timetable, which envisages that major progress should be achieved by the end of February 1998 when the UNITA leadership has promised to install itself in Luanda and transfer its two strongholds to the control of State administration. Having the above developments in mind, I recommend that the mandate of MONUA be extended for three months, until 30 April 1998, as outlined in section VII above.

44. I also welcome the ongoing contacts between the two parties concerning the meeting inside Angola of President dos Santos and Dr. Savimbi. I continue to believe that such a meeting should be held in the near future, as it could enhance mutual confidence and contribute significantly to the prospects of national reconciliation, reconstruction of the country and movement towards democracy.

45. In conclusion, I would like to pay tribute to my Special Representative and to all staff of MONUA, as well as to the personnel of United Nations programmes, funds and agencies and non-governmental organizations for their commendable work under challenging conditions. I also wish to express my appreciation to the three observer States, to their representatives in Angola and to all Member States for their unfailing support to the Angolan peace process.

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