HC Deb 11 June 2002 vol 386 c1176W
Angus Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken since 5 April to help the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Angola and the UNITA rebels; what reports he has received from his staff in the area about possible problems; what representations he has made to the Government of Angola with respect to creating a lasting peace; and if he will make a statement. [58908]

Mr. MacShane

We are in close contact with the Angolan Government, from President dos Santos down. We discussed the latest developments with Foreign Minister Miranda in London in March. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development held follow-up discussions in Luanda in April. We are also in touch with Ibrahim Gambari, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Africa (including talks on 6 June), and with our EU colleagues, with the aim of encouraging transparent dialogue between all parties.

There have been reports that quartering areas are over-stretched and unable to meet the basic welfare needs of former UNITA troops and their families. We have played a leading role with other donors to encourage the UN and Government of Angola to overcome earlier co-ordination problems and to agree roles and responsibilities in the quartering areas. The UN has now begun work on implementing relief activity, within guidelines agreed with the Angolan government. Her Majesty's Government are contributing $1 million to the UN's office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) in Angola. It is important that the Angolan Government fulfils its own stated obligations and that it continues to co-operate fully with the international community, particularly on the humanitarian relief agenda.