UN peace mission winds up in Angola

LUANDA (Reuters) - The U.N. mission overseeing the peace process in Angola wound up its operation in the southwest African country on Saturday, pulling the curtain down on almost three decades of conflict.
"Finally, they're (Angola) off the Security Council agenda and I think that's very important -- it gives them a stamp of approval," Erick de Mul, the U.N.'s resident-humanitarian coordinator, told Reuters.

"Things are back to normal in that they have a normal U.N. presence rather than a special U.N. presence," he said.

The U.N. Mission in Angola (UNMA) had been overseeing Angola's peace process for the last six months.

Oil and diamond rich Angola has been emerging from 27 years of civil war that ended last year when UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in an ambush.

The conflict killed about one million people.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a recent report to the Security Council, said the U.N. remained committed to supporting Angola in the areas of human rights, mine clearance, reintegration of former combatants, humanitarian aid, economic recovery and electoral assistance.

Around 2.8 million Angolans are internally displaced and 480,000 are estimated to be living as refugees outside Angola.

The World Food Programme is feeding an average of 1.7 million Angolans per month. It says that up to 2.4 million Angolans may need food assistance this year.


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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