In remarks made during a wide-ranging interview with IRIN last week at the conclusion of a month-long session on Africa at the Security Council, Annan was asked to comment on charges that the UN's shortcomings precipitated the breakdown of the 1994 UN-brokered Lusaka Protocol peace accords and the return to civil war.
"I am aware of the criticisms made by various human rights bodies," Annan said. "I agree that the United Nations and the international community as a whole should have done more in Angola." However, he said the international community had accepted that the collapse was due to the failure of the rebel UNITA movement to comply with the Lusaka peace accords.
"After more than four years of vigorous efforts by the United Nations, UNITA failed to demobilise its forces and to allow State administration to be extended to areas under its control. I finally had to conclude last year that the conditions for an effective UN peacekeeping presence had ceased to exist," he said.
By starting the year with a month of debate on Africa involving many heads of state, he said the "Month of Africa" at the Security Council had had a "tremendous impact on the world's consciousness - and conscience". He also spoke frankly on the crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone and the UN's failure to do more to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The full interview can be viewed at http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN
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