5. Risk of Full-scale Hostilities Reported
6. Last Extension of the mandate
7. Downing of Two UN Planes
8. MONUA's Mandate Terminated

 

1. Establishment of MONUA

Following the signing of the Lusaka Protocol in November 1994, the peace process in Angola achieved progress, resulting in a period of relative peace in the country. Active dialogue between the Government and UNITA was maintained at various levels and led to the formation of the joint armed forces (FAA) and the national police force (ANP), as well as the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (GURN). With the completion of many tasks by the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III (UNAVEM III), its successor, the United Nations Observer Mission (MONUA), was mandated by the Security Council to help in consolidating peace and national reconciliation, enhancing confidence-building and in creating an environment conducive to long-term stability, democratic development and rehabilitation of the country.

MONUA was established by the Security Council resolution 1118 (1997) of 30 June 1997. In setting up MONUA, the Council called upon the Government of Angola and, in particular, UNITA to cooperate fully with MONUA, and strongly urged the Government and UNITA to complete the remaining political and military aspects of the peace process. The Council expressed the hope that issues delaying the full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol might be resolved through a meeting on Angolan national territory of the President of Angola and the UNITA leader. It also urged the international community to provide assistance to the demobilization of combatants and their social reintegration and the reconstruction of the national economy in order to consolidate the gains in the peace process.

According to the original plan, United Nations military personnel would be gradually withdrawn as State administration was extended throughout the country. MONUA's civilian police component would continue to verify the neutrality of the Angolan National Police, the incorporation of UNITA personnel into the national police, as well as the quartering and occasional deployment of the rapid reaction police. The unit would also monitor the collection of weapons from civilians, supervise their proper storage or destruction and oversee security arrangements for UNITA leaders. After the withdrawal of the main infantry units, a reduced number of military observers would be retained in Angola to investigate allegations of offensive troop movements, the presence of any UNITA armed elements and the existence of weapons caches. (see MANDATE).

The initial mandate of MONUA extended to 31 October 1997, with the expectation that the mission would be completed by 1 February 1998. In the following months, however, the Angolan peace process proceeded much slower than expected. As a result, many of the activities of MONUA 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 remained 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 represented serious challenges to national reconciliation and reconstruction. The United Nations, with the support of the three observer States (Portugal, Soviet Union and United States), continued to play a pivotal role in helping the two signatories to the Lusaka Protocol overcome their deep-rooted mutual mistrust.

2. First Extension of the Mandate

Reporting to the Security Council on 13 August 1997, the Secretary-General said that the peace process in Angola was experiencing some of the most serious difficulties since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol, and proposing to postpone the withdrawal of the United Nations military units from Angola and to retain in the country up to 2,650 military personnel until the end of October 1997. In his further report on 17 October, the Secretary-General again noted the lack of significant progress in the peace process. He recommended that the Security Council further postpone the withdrawal of United Nations military units. He also recommended that the Council extend the mandate of MONUA until 31 January 1998. On 29 October 1997, in its resolution 1135 (1997), the Council agreed with these recommendations. In addition, deploring UNITA's failure to comply fully with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, the Council decided to impose sanctions on UNITA, including restrictions on the travel of UNITA personnel.

3. Additional Sanctions Against UNITA

On 12 January 1998, the Secretary-General reported that important tasks remained in order for the parties to conclude the peace process. He also noted that the plan for downsizing the MONUA military component was being implemented. He nevertheless felt that the military situation in the country warranted retaining a military task force of up to four infantry companies, whose total strength, including support troops, would not exceed 910 personnel. An additional 45 military staff officers and 90 military observers would also be retained. On 27 January 1998, by its resolution 1149 (1998), the Security Council approved these recommendations and extended MONUA's mandate until 30 April.

MONUAís mandate was again extended by the Security Council on 29 April. In approving MONUAís continued operation in Angola until 30 June 1998, the Council welcomed recent progress, but stressed the urgent need for the parties, and in particular UNITA, to complete their obligations in accordance with the approved timetable. The Council also endorsed the Secretary-Generalís recommendation to complete the withdrawal of all United Nations military personnel, with the exception of one infantry company, support units and 90 military observers, by 1 July 1998.

Despite all efforts the situation in the country continued to be tense. On 12 June 1998, the Security Council took action in resolution 1173 (1998) condemning UNITA and holding its leadership responsible for its failure to implement fully its obligations contained in the Lusaka Protocol and relevant Security Council resolutions. The Council demanded that UNITA fully cooperate without conditions in the immediate extension of State administration throughout the national territory, including in particular in Andulo, Bailundo, Mungo and Níharea; and demanded that UNITA cooperate fully with MONUA in the verification of its demilitarization and that UNITA stop any attacks on the personnel of MONUA, international personnel, the authorities of GURN, including the police, and the civilian population. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council decided that all States freeze funds and property belonging to UNITA and prevent all official contacts with the UNITA leadership in areas of Angola to which State administration had not been extended.

4. Security Situation Deteriorates

On 17 June 1998, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that despite strenuous efforts of his Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, no progress had been achieved in the implementation of one of the last major pending tasks under the Lusaka Protocol, namely, the normalization of State administration throughout the country. The reporting period was also marked by a dangerous deterioration of the security situation in various parts of the country, including armed attacks by UNITA forces against villages, local government authorities, as well as United Nations and other international personnel. Acts of banditry, new mine-laying activities, and troop movements also increased. The incidents 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 affected 8 out of the 18 Angolan provinces and seriously undermined the progress achieved in the peace process.

The military actions launched by UNITA elements also resulted in dramatic deterioration of humanitarian and human rights situation in the country. The total number of displaced people in Angola climbed to almost 1.3 million, representing some 10 per cent of the country's population. In addition, thousands of Angolans fled the country for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An influx of Angolan refugees was also reported in Zambia and Namibia.

The Secretary-General joined 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 recommended that the mandate of MONUA be extended for two months, until 31 August 1998, and that the strength of the mission be maintained at the existing level.

After frustrating delays, the Angolan Government and UNITA held high-level consultations in Andulo on 18 and 19 June 1998, which led to a number of understandings. However, UNITA again failed to set specific dates for the extension of State administration to its four strongholds of Andulo, Bailundo, Mungo and N'harea. Shortly before his tragic death, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Mr. Alioune Blondin Beye, held intensive consultations with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the UNITA leader, Mr. Jonas Savimbi, in order to ensure the earliest completion of the Lusaka Protocol. On 22 June 1998, Mr. Beye met in Andulo with Mr. Savimbi, who reiterated his earlier promise to proceed with normalization before 30 June. Accordingly, and with the consent of the Government of Angola, on 24 June, the Security Council adopted resolution 1176 (1998), by which it postponed, until 1 July 1998, the entry into force of the additional sanctions UNITA stipulated in resolution 1173 (1998) (see above).

On 26 June 1998, Mr. Beye left Luanda to consult with several leaders of the region, in yet another effort to move the Angolan peace process forward. After holding consultations with the Presidents of Gabon and Togo, his aircraft crashed, while making an approach to land in Abidjan airport. All eight people on board, including Mr. Beye, five MONUA staff and two pilots, tragically lost their lives in the accident.

The death of Mr. Beye occurred at a critical phase in the peace process. The Secretary-General immediately asked the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Bernard Miyet, to travel to Angola to reaffirm the United Nations commitment to the peace process. Mr. Miyet, who visited Angola from 29 June to 3 July, held intensive consultations with all parties concerned, including the Angolan Prime Minister, Mr. Van Dunem, and Mr. Savimbi. The Secretary-General designated the MONUA Force Commander, Major-General Seth Kofi Obeng, Officer-in-Charge of the Mission and temporarily assigned his Representative and Regional Humanitarian Adviser to the Great Lakes, Mr. Berhanu Dinka, as Senior Political Adviser to MONUA. [The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Angola, Mr. Issa B. Y. Diallo arrived in Luanda on 28 August 1998.]

In the meantime, by adopting, on 29 June 1998, resolution 1180 (1998), the Security Council decided to resume the withdrawal of the military component of MONUA in accordance with resolution 1164 (1998) of 29 April 1998 as soon as conditions permitted; and requested the Secretary-General to reconsider the deployment of the additional civilian police observers authorized under that resolution. The mandate of MONUA was further extended through 31 August 1998.

5. Risk of Full-scale Hostilities Reported

In the following weeks, the military and security situation in the country further deteriorated and the risks of a resumption of full-scale hostilities increased significantly. Reporting to the Security Council on 6 August 1998, the Secretary-General said that UNITA forces continued to threaten FAA and ANP in Lunda Sul, Lunda Norte, Moxico, Uige and Cuanza Norte Provinces. Evidently, UNITA maintained a significant military capability, despite its past declarations on the demilitarization of its forces. On many occasions, UNITA "residual" troops were identified as being responsible for attacks on villages and towns, as well as ambushes on major roads. There were also incidents of selective killing and kidnapping in order to intimidate the population and dissuade it from cooperating with government authorities.

Owing to the prevailing insecurity, the downsizing of MONUA's military component was temporarily suspended. However, the Portuguese logistic company of 93 personnel was repatriated in July, as requested by its national authorities. The mission's strength thus stood, at the beginning of August 1998, at 728 military personnel, composed of 414 troops belonging to three infantry companies, 185 military support personnel, 37 staff officers and 92 military observers. The Secretary-General called on the Government and, in particular, UNITA to renew their efforts towards national reconciliation, to cease the exchange of threats and war rhetoric and to initiate immediately confidence-building measures, both at the national and local levels. These measures should include the expeditious reactivation of the joint mechanisms in the provinces. Practical steps should also be taken to disengage the military forces on the ground, under effective MONUA verification. Alternatively, the United Nations would be compelled to reconsider its deployment on the ground.

On 13 August 1998, the Security Council, by its resolution 1190 (1998) extended MONUA until 15 September 1998 and demanded that UNITA cease its reoccupation of localities where State administration had been established and stop attacks by its members on civilians, GURN authorities, including police, and United Nations and international personnel.

In the following weeks, however, the peace process in Angola continued to be stalled. UNITA was still refusing to implement its most important commitments under the Lusaka Protocol. Mutual mistrust between the Government and UNITA remained pervasive. The dialogue between the parties ceased. The security situation throughout the country remained precarious, in particular in the northern and north-eastern regions where the Government and UNITA forces continued to conduct extensive military operations. The renewed fighting reported in several provinces led to the further deterioration of security conditions there. As a result of the prevailing insecurity, the free circulation of people and goods was impeded in many areas of Angola.

During September-October, the Security Council extended the mandate of MONUA on two occasions by its resolutions 1195 (1998) of 15 September and 1202 (1998) of 15 October -- on that date through 3 December. The Council reiterated that the primary cause of the crisis in Angola and of the impasse in the peace process was the failure by the leadership of UNITA to comply with its obligations and demanded that UNITA withdraw immediately from territories which it had reoccupied through military action. It also stressed that there could be no military solution to the conflict in Angola and called upon the Government of Angola and in particular UNITA to seek a political settlement.

On 23 November 1998, the Secretary-General in his further report to the Security Council, appealed to international community to remain engaged in Angola. Despite the dangerous security situation in the country and the absence of any progress towards the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, the Secretary-General felt that the international community should remain engaged in order to dissuade the parties, as far as possible, from a return to war. He proposed that the mandate of MONUA be extended for another short period of up to three months, on the understanding that if the security situation were to become untenable, he would immediately revert to the Security Council and submit further recommendations, including, if necessary, the withdrawal of MONUA.

6. Last Extension of the Mandate

On 3 December 1998, the Security Council adopted resolution 1213 (1998) , by which it extended MONUA until 26 February 1999 and demanded that UNITA immediately commence with complete demilitarization of its forces and fully cooperate in the immediate and unconditional extension of State administration throughout the national territory. The resolution demanded that UNITA withdraw immediately from territories which it had reoccupied through military or other action. It called upon UNITA to cooperate fully and immediately with MONUA in the withdrawal of MONUA mission personnel from Andulo and Bailundo, holding the UNITA leadership responsible for their safety and security. [On 7 December, 14 United Nations peacekeepers who had been deployed to UNITA held areas in Andulo and Bailundo were successfully withdrawn after the UNITA leadership in Bailundo finally gave clearance for the landing of United Nations aircraft to pick them up.]

The Security Council reiterated concern at the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, especially the significant increase in the number of internally displaced persons and the increase in mine-laying activity, calling on the Government and in particular UNITA to guarantee unconditionally the safety and freedom of movement of all international humanitarian personnel; to cooperate fully with international humanitarian organizations in the delivery of emergency relief assistance to affected populations, to cease mine-laying activity, and to respect international humanitarian, refugee and human rights law. Stressing that there was no military solution to the conflict in Angola, it called upon the Government and UNITA to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation to continue adjusting deployment and force structure of the Mission as necessary.

7. Downing of Two UN Planes

After the crash and disappearance of UN flight 806 over UNITA-controlled territory in central Angola and disappearance of another aircraft, the Security Council demanded by resolution 1219 (1998) of 31 December 1998, that the leader of UNITA, Mr. Jonas Savimbi, immediately respond to the appeals from the United Nations and guarantee the security and access necessary for, and assist in, the search for and rescue of possible survivors of the plane incidents in territory controlled by UNITA. The Council equally called upon the Government of Angola to cooperate as appropriate. It called for an immediate and objective international investigation of these incidents.

After the downing on 2 January 1999 of a second United Nations-chartered aircraft over territory controlled by UNITA, bringing to six the number of aircraft lost in this area in recent months, the Council -- acting under Chapter VII of the Charter -- demanded in resolution 1221 (1999) of 12 January 1999, that all such attacks cease immediately; reaffirmed its resolve to establish the truth about the circumstances of and to determine the responsibility for the downing of the two UN aircraft and the loss under suspicious circumstances of other commercial aircraft over UNITA-controlled territory through an immediate and objective international investigation. The Council concluded that the leader of UNITA, Mr. Jonas Savimbi, had not complied with the demands contained in its resolution 1219 (1998) of 31 December 1998, and reiterated its demand that he cooperate immediately and in good faith in the search for and rescue of possible survivors of the aircraft crashes. The Council also requested the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to provide all possible support to the investigation of those incidents as soon as conditions on the ground permitted.

8. MONUA's Mandate Terminated

Observing that the peace process in Angola had collapsed and the country found itself in a state of war, the Secretary-General stated in his 17 January 1999 report to the Security Council, that MONUA had no other option but to continue to reduce its presence and proceed with the orderly repatriation of United Nations personnel and property. Upon expiration of MONUA's mandate on 26 February, the United Nations would then proceed with the mission's technical liquidation. Citing the determination of the parties in Angola to test their fortunes on the battlefield, the steady worsening security situation and MONUA's inability to carry out its mandate, the Secretary-General assessed that the conditions for a meaningful United Nations peacekeeping role had ceased to exist. He noted that the Angolan Government did not support the extension of MONUA beyond its current mandate, which was to expire on 26 February 1999. All MONUA team sites and regional headquarters were to be withdrawn to the capital Luanda by mid-February and most of UN peacekeeping personnel repatriated by 20 March. The Secretary-General suggested retaining an infantry company of up to 200 personnel to protect UN property during the first months of liquidation.

The Secretary-General stressed, however, that the international community and the United Nations must not turn its back on the Angolan people. The humanitarian situation in the country, already critical, had the potential to develop into a full-scale catastrophe, and heavy fighting caused dire consequences for the civilian population. Thus, he intended to designate a New York-based Special Envoy for Angola and, to the extent possible, continue United Nations human rights and humanitarian activities in the country.

On 27 January 1999, the Angolan Government informed the United Nations that, in its view, a continued multidisciplinary presence of the Organization in Angola was not necessary. The Government expressed the view that the United Nations should continue its activities through the specialized agencies, under the coordination of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Angolan Government indicated its willingness to continue to deal with representatives of United Nations agencies and programmes on issues related to humanitarian assistance, human rights and other matters of interest to the people of Angola. As for MONUA, the Government considered that conditions for maintaining a MONUA presence had ceased to exist. In his letter, President dos Santos further emphasized that his Government was not opposed to the appointment of a representative of the Secretary-General who, from New York, could maintain contact with the Government of Angola in monitoring the evolution of the situation in the country.

On 24 February 1999, the Secretary-General reported on the technical liquidation of MONUA. He stated that the situation in Angola remained grave, with heavy fighting continuing to rage in several parts of the country. Deep animosity and distrust persisted between the Government of Angola and UNITA. The Secretary-General stated that he would continue consultations with the Government concerning the modalities of the future presence of the United Nations and to inform the Security Council of the outcome of these consultations.

In the meantime, the relocation of United Nations personnel and equipment proceeded smoothly and, generally, according to the existing plans. The Secretary-General noted, however, that the technical liquidation of MONUA and its predecessors, whose combined presence in Angola spanned a period of almost 10 years, presented a significant challenge to the Organization and might take over six months to complete, demanding the presence in Angola of a substantial number of administrative, logistical and other personnel, as well as a small medical unit. Most of the remaining military, police and civilian personnel would be repatriated by the end of March 1999.

On 26 February 1999, the Security Council adopted resolution 1229 (1999), taking note that the mandate of MONUA expired on 26 February 1999. It endorsed recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the technical liquidation of MONUA. The Council affirmed that notwithstanding the expiration of the mandate of MONUA, the Status of Forces Agreement applicable to MONUA remained in force until the departure of the final elements of MONUA from Angola. It decided that the human rights component of MONUA would continue its activities during the liquidation period. Deep concern was expressed at the lack of progress in investigating the downing of the two aircraft chartered by the United Nations and the loss, under suspicious circumstances, of other commercial aircraft over UNITA controlled areas. The Council called upon all concerned, especially UNITA, to cooperate with and facilitate an immediate and objective international investigation of these incidents.

* * * * *

On 15 October 1999, the Security Council authorized, by its resolution 1268 , the establishment of the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) to liaise with the political, military, police and other civilian authorities in that country. The Office was to explore effective measures for restoring peace, assist the Angolan people in the area of capacity building, humanitarian assistance, the promotion of human rights and coordinate other activities.

 

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