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.
BOB HUGHES MP
Chair, Action for Southern Africa
Director, United Nations Association
STAN NEWENS MEP
Co-chair, Mozambique Angola Committee
London N1Reuse content