HC Deb 03 April 1996 vol 275 cc387-8
21. Mr. Robert Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his latest assessment of progress in the peace process in Angola. [22634]

Mr. Hanley

President Dos Santos and Dr. Savimbi reached agreement on 1 March on several important points, including the formation of a Government of unity and national reconciliation by June and/or July. We look to the Government of Angola and UNITA to honour their commitments and implement the provisions of the Lusaka protocol without further delay.

Mr. Hughes

Has the Minister heard the recent warnings given by the UN Secretary-General that time is running out for UNITA to comply fully with its responsibilities for quartering and the delivery of weapons, and for it to demonstrate its good faith? Are not those warnings compounded by recent belligerent speeches from Dr. Jonas Savimbi, who said that he was prepared to fight on? Given that, at one stage, the civil war cost 1,000 lives a day, will the Government act with some urgency to prevent the circumstances in which Angola would slide back into civil war?

Mr. Hanley

I believe that the prospects for peace are brighter now than at any time since the elections in 1992. The United Nations Angola verification mission—UNAVEM III—is now fully deployed and is providing the conditions necessary to maintain the ceasefire, to undergo the quartering to which the hon. Gentleman referred and to demobilise the UNITA troops. Seven quartering areas are now open to receive troops, but it is disappointing that the rate of quartering has not been quicker. We are also concerned by reports that most of those being quartered are not front-line troops. We hope that progress will be made and we are keeping tabs on it. My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development visited the area recently and talked to Dr. Savimbi, from whom she received some assurances.

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