SECURITY COUNCIL, ALARMED BY DETERIORATING SITUATION IN ANGOLA, STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED UN PRESENCE

21 January 1999
SC/6630

SECURITY COUNCIL, ALARMED BY DETERIORATING SITUATION IN ANGOLA, STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED UN PRESENCE

21 January 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6630

SECURITY COUNCIL, ALARMED BY DETERIORATING SITUATION IN ANGOLA, STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED UN PRESENCE

19990121 Presidential Statement Reaffirms Primary Cause of Crisis UNITA's Refusal To Comply with Basic Provisions of Lusaka Protocol

Alarmed at the serious deterioration of the political and military situation in Angola, the Security Council this afternoon underlined the great importance it attached to a continued multidisciplinary United Nations presence in Angola, under the direction of a Representative of the Secretary- General.

Recognizing that a continued United Nations presence depended on the safety of its personnel and required the agreement of the Government of Angola and the cooperation of all concerned, the Council appealed to the Government to provide such agreement and to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to cooperate fully, in a statement read out by its President, Celso L.N. Amorim (Brazil). It welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to consult with the Government on a United Nations presence.

The Council shared the Secretary-General's assessment of the political and military situation in Angola, as described in his report of 17 January 1999, and underscored the contribution of the United Nations to the past four years of relative peace in the country. It deeply regretted that the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) had been prevented from fully carrying out its mandated role by the country's political and security situation and by the lack of cooperation, especially on the part of UNITA.

Reaffirming its belief that lasting peace and national reconciliation could not be achieved through military means, the Council urged the Government and UNITA to resume dialogue based on the "Acordos de Paz", the Lusaka Protocol and relevant Council resolutions to spare the Angolan people further war and suffering. It reaffirmed that the primary cause of the crisis was UNITA's refusal to comply with the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and demanded that it comply with its obligations to demilitarize and permit State administration in territories it controlled.

Also by the statement, the Council expressed profound concern about the humanitarian impact of the conflict on the people of Angola. It urged the

international community to support the Government in fulfilling its responsibility for humanitarian needs, and urged Member States to generously fund the 1999 Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Angola. It called upon all concerned to: cooperate with United Nations humanitarian assistance activities based on neutrality and non-discrimination; guarantee security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel; ensure adequate and safe access and logistics by land and air; and cooperate with United Nations human rights activities, which helped to lay the foundation for peace and national reconciliation.

The Council also called on Member States to support the peace process in Angola by implementing the measures against UNITA contained in its resolutions 864 (1993), 1127 (1997) and 1173 (1998), and reiterated its readiness to take steps to reinforce the implementation of those measures on the basis of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General.

The meeting, which began at 1:45 p.m., adjourned at 1:55 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, to be issued as S/PRST/1999/3, follows.

"The Security Council expresses its alarm at the serious deterioration in the political and military situation in Angola. It reaffirms its belief that lasting peace and national reconciliation cannot be achieved through military means, and urges the Government of Angola and especially the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) to resume a constructive dialogue on the basis of the "Acordos de Paz" (S/22609, annex), the Lusaka Protocol (S/1994/1441, annex) and relevant Security council resolutions in order to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict and spare the Angolan people further war and suffering. In this context, it reaffirms that the primary cause of the crisis in Angola is the refusal by UNITA to comply with the basic provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and reiterates its demand that UNITA comply with its obligations to demilitarize and to permit the extension of State administration to territories it controls.

"The Security Council shares the assessment and judgements of the Secretary-General on the political and military situation in Angola contained in his report of 17 January 1999 (S/1999/49). It underscores the contribution of the United Nations to the past four years of relative peace in Angola. It expresses its deep regret that the present political and security situation in the country and the lack of cooperation, especially by UNITA, with the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) have prevented MONUA from fully carrying out its mandated role.

"The Security Council underlines the great importance it attaches to a continued multidisciplinary presence of the United Nations under the direction of a Representative of the Secretary-General in Angola. It recognizes that

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such a continued presence depends on the safety of United Nations personnel and requires the agreement of the Government of Angola and the cooperation of all concerned. In this context, it appeals to the Government of Angola to provide such agreement and to UNITA to cooperate fully. It welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to consult urgently with the Government of Angola on such a United Nations presence and to report to the Council in this regard.

"The Security Council again calls upon Member States to support the peace process in Angola through full and immediate implementation of the measures against UNITA contained in resolution 864 (1993) of 15 September 1993, 1127 (1997) of 28 August 1997 and 1173 (1998) of 12 June 1998, and reiterates its readiness to take steps to reinforce the implementation of these measures on the basis of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 January 1999.

"The Security Council expresses its profound concern at the humanitarian impact of the conflict on the Angolan people. It urges the international community to support the Government of Angola in fulfilling its primary responsibility for the humanitarian needs of the Angolan people and, in this regard, urges Member States to fund generously the 1999 Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal of angola. It calls all concerned to concur and cooperate with United Nations humanitarian assistance activities on the basis of the principles of neutrality and non-discrimination, to guarantee the security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel, and to ensure necessary, adequate and safe access and logistics by land and air. It urges all concerned to cooperate with the human rights activities of the United Nations, which help to lay a basis for lasting peace and national reconciliation.

"The Security Council will remain actively seized of the matter."

Secretary-General's Report

As the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it Secretary- General Kofi Annan's 17 January report on the situation in Angola (document S/1999/49). He writes that the Angolan peace process has collapsed and the country is in a state of war. In light of the expressed determination of the parties to "test their fortunes on the battlefield", as well as the worsening security situation and MONUA's inability to carry out its mandate, the conditions for a meaningful United Nations peacekeeping role in Angola cease to exist.

The report states that the Government had informed the United Nations -- and repeated this in media -- that it did not support extending MONUA beyond its current mandate, which would expire on 26 February 1999. Furthermore, as a result of what appeared to be a coordinated media campaign against the United Nations and MONUA, a negative public atmosphere had emerged, including cases of harassment of United Nations personnel and the refusal of some local officials to cooperate with MONUA.

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The Secretary-General goes on to say that government and military officials, as well as representatives from the UNITA Renovation Committee, had made public statements claiming that the United Nations was responsible for the present deterioration of the security situation in Angola and for the failure to demilitarize UNITA forces. The Minister of Territorial Administration and head of the government delegation to the Joint Commission had advised his Special Representative to concentrate all MONUA personnel in Luanda and gradually repatriate them.

Due to the negative public atmosphere created by the Angolan media campaign against the United Nations, compounded with incidents of harassment and non-cooperation with MONUA, the Mission had continued to review the redeployment of its teams and decided in December 1998 to relocate all United Nations team sites to safer areas.

As the Organization could neither impose its presence on the Angolan parties, or play an effective role without their cooperation, the Secretary- General believes that MONUA must continue to reduce its presence in Angola and proceed with the orderly repatriation of United Nations personnel and property, as requested by the Government. If the present pace of redeployment is maintained, all team sites and regional headquarters would be in Luanda by mid-February, and when MONUA's mandate expired on 26 February, the United Nations would then proceed with its technical liquidation. He envisages that most of the military, police and civilian personnel would be repatriated by 20 March 1999.

While MONUA could no longer play a useful role in the present circumstances, the United Nations and the international community must not turn their backs on Angola and the Angolan people, the Secretary-General states. The resumption of war would bring increased suffering for the civilian population and would have serious consequences for peace and security beyond the country's borders. The United Nations must actively continue to assist in finding the earliest possible resolution of this fratricidal conflict, which had lasted longer than any other in Africa.

The Secretary-General reports that he intends to designate a senior official to serve as his Special Envoy for Angola. That person wold be based in New York, together with requisite support staff, and would cooperate and liaise with members of the Security Council, other interested States, and, to the extent possible, with the parties to the conflict, in efforts to bring peace to Angola. Should the political and military situation improve, and both parties extend full cooperation to his Special Envoy, he could quickly be dispatched to Angola.

The humanitarian situation in Angola, already critical, has the potential to develop into a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe, according to the report. While the numbers of persons affected is increasing, the access

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by humanitarian organizations is being hampered and sometimes prevented by landmines, hostilities and restrictions with regard to UNITA-held areas. While the United Nations was willing to intensify and continue its humanitarian assistance to the Angolan people, it could not do so without guaranteed access and assurances for the safety of humanitarian personnel and operations. The Secretary-General urges the Government and UNITA leaders to provide such guarantees and extend their full cooperation to humanitarian agencies and organizations working in Angola.

The presumed shooting down of two United Nations aircraft on 26 December 1998 and 2 January 1999 was an outrageous crime apparently intended to intimidate the United Nations and force it to curtail its operations, the Secretary-General states. A total of 15 passengers and eight crew members had been killed. The two Angolan parties denied any responsibility for the incidents and, despite repeated appeals by the Security Council, the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, had initially shown no inclination to cooperate in the search and rescue operations. In the meantime, the Government had presented to the press a purported deserter who claimed that he was aware of several survivors of the first crash, a claim that was then repeated by government officials.

After the United Nations Security Coordinator, Under-Secretary-General Benon Sevan, was sent to Angola on 31 December, and after repeated attempts, both parties agreed to enable a visit to the site. On 8 January, the United Nations rescue team had reached the site of the first aircraft. It appeared that the aircraft had spiralled to the ground at very high speed, and survivors were highly unlikely. The cockpit voice recorder was recovered, though there was evidence that it had been tampered with, and efforts had also apparently been made to conceal the aircraft with tree branches. Since then, the parties had not allowed MONUA to visit the site because of renewed heavy fighting in the area. The second wreckage site had been located on 14 January.

In response to those developments, the United Nations had limited its air operations to the most essential medical and casualty evacuations and had expedited the withdrawal of all its personnel to Luanda. The deployment and rotation of United Nations personnel to the Mission area was stopped. By 14 January, out of a total of 26 team sites and regional headquarters, MONUA had evacuated 17 teams to Luanda, with the rest scheduled to be fully withdrawn by the beginning of February.

The widening hostilities had negatively impacted on general law and order in Angola, according to the report. Reports indicated that civilians were being armed and organized in civil defence groups in areas of potential confrontation with UNITA forces. There were reports of searches, harassment and extortion. The civilian population continued to suffer grave human rights violations as a result of the hostilities, and there were reports of forced recruitment of young men, including minors.

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While the Secretary-General's Special Representative had continued to maintain contacts with the parties, including the newly established UNITA Restoration Committee (UNITA-Renovada), UNITA deputies to the National Assembly and representatives of civil society, he had not been able to meet directly with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, due to the position of the Government of Angola.

The Secretary-General states that the root causes of the deterioration of the peace process lay in the failure of UNITA to comply with basic provisions of the Lusaka Protocol -- which demanded that it demilitarize its forces and allow State administration to be extended throughout the national territory -- exacerbated by a lack of political tolerance and any genuine effort to build political support by improving the basic living conditions of the population.

Given the scale and duration of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and MONUA's operations, some four to six months are expected to complete effective liquidation. During the first few months, a security detachment -- an infantry company of up to 200 personnel -- would be needed to protect United Nations property. Air capacity, support services and administrative personnel would be needed. The presence of the infantry detachment would require the Council's concurrence.

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For information media. Not an official record.