Angola

Angolan delegation for peace to ask UK for support

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A delegation of key Angolan civil society leaders will be in London on December 13 and 14 looking for UK government and NGO (non-governmental organisation) support to help find a permanent solution to the 25-year conflict in Angola.
The visit follows similar events in the US, Canada, The Netherlands and Belgium and is being supported by Christian Aid and other UK NGOs. The delegation will be calling for increased involvement of the international community in finding a solution to a conflict that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and ruined many more, has destabilised an entire region and has wasted the enormous economic potential of possibly Africa's richest country.

Crucially, the delegation will be calling on Western leaders to take responsibility for the roles their countries have had and still have in the conflict - a position already taken up by Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister Peter Hain recently.

The delegation will consist of the following:

Rev. Gaspar Joao Domingos - Secretary-general of the Angolan Council of Churches; Fernando Pacheco - President of ADRA, the biggest and most influential Angolan NGO; Rev. Octavio Fernando - Secretary-general of the Angolan Evangelical Alliance; Daniel Ntoni-Nzinga - Co-ordinator, Angolan movement for peace (GARP); Ana Garcia - Leader of the Angolan Independent Trades Unions federation; Jos‚ Sebastião Manuel - Co-Director, MOSAIKO (Catholic cultural centre working on human rights).

During the two-day stay the delegation will be meeting with top-level officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Clare Short's Department for International Development and representatives of UK NGOs working with Angola.

A number of countries, including the US, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Brazil and France have significant investments in Angola. The delegation to the UK and those to the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium hope to raise Angola in national agendas to increase pressure for engagement for peace as well as for trade purposes.

Tony Dykes, Southern Africa Head at Christian Aid, said: "To achieve a lasting peace in which the undoubted wealth of Angola can be used to tackle poverty and great humanitarian need it is vital that Angolan voices such as those of the members of this delegation be heard. It is also important that all of us in the international community - NGOs, government, business - listen and act to support the achievement of these aims".

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