Letters: Peace in peril in Angola

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The Independent Online
Sir: We write as the UN Security Council yet again debates the fragile peace process in Angola. Full implementation of the agreements signed in Lusaka in November 1994 is, we hope, still possible, but is endangered by Unita's prevarications.

We fear that Unita is retaining a military option, and thus refusing to comply fully with the agreements it signed. The pace of quartering of Unita troops in reception camps is slower than agreed, and the quality - with many being old men or young boys - suggests main armed units are being held back. Weapons surrendered by Unita have been poor in quality, and there has been little sign of their known heavy weaponry, artillery and ground-to-air missiles. At the same time, their control over diamond areas enables them to finance the resupply of their forces through air links from Zaire and elsewhere, by diamond deals in international markets such as Antwerp and London.

Existing UN sanctions - which ban arms supplies to Unita - should be fully enforced, rather than just remaining on paper. Britain and other Western countries should collectively enforce laws against trading in stolen Angolan diamonds. The UN Security Council should empower UNAVEM forces (strengthened if necessary) to locate, identify, and ultimately seek the surrender of any Unita forces remaining outside the quartering areas, in breach of the Lusaka agreements.

Peace in Angola can never be secure if Unita refuse to demilitarise and become a political party with a stake in a government of unity and reconciliation. Action, not just words, is needed to ensure they finally abandon the military option they have used so destructively in the past.


Chair, Action for Southern Africa


Director, United Nations Association


President, Liberation


Co-chair, Mozambique Angola Committee

London N1