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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 03:05 GMT 04:05 UK
Annan pledges help to rebuild Angola
Kofi Annan and wife Nane in Luanda
Annan said he wanted to build on Angolan peace
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has told Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos that the international community will help rebuild his country after 27 years of civil war.

Mr Annan congratulated the Angolan authorities on achieving peace and said mine clearing and humanitarian assistance were now priorities.

He witnessed the signing of the latest stage of the peace process in Angola - a ceremony marking the first formal agreement between political leaders on both sides.

War legacy
Four million people displaced
1m+ need aid
Infrastructure shattered

The UN's main political task now will be to supervise some remaining aspects of the peace plan agreed by the government and the former Unita rebels.

The process, which has already made progress, is supposed to be completed within 45 days.

Mr Annan's African tour is also taking him to Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique before he arrives in South Africa for the World Development Summit.

Lusaka accord

Speaking at Monday's ceremony, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said there was tremendous international goodwill to help Angola in its task of reconstruction, but he urged it to be courageous in developing democracy and a system based on the rule of law.

Angola's Interior Minister Fernando dos Santos and Unita leader Paulo Lukamba Gato signed a document committing themselves to implementing the remaining aspects of the Lusaka Protocol of 1994.

Under the Lusaka accord - which had not been fully implemented when the country returned to war - certain Unita nominees are to be appointed as ambassadors and provincial governors.

Ex-Unita soldiers in demobilisation camp
Former rebels are waiting for civilian training
The ceremony on Monday afternoon launched the joint commission which will oversee this process.

It includes representatives of the government, Unita, the UN and the three observer countries - Portugal, Russia and the United States.

According to diplomats, the government would prefer the UN's political role not to go much further than the chairing of the joint commission.

Unita, which was forced to accept peace largely on the government's terms, would like to see a more active role by the international community, the BBC's Justin Pearce in Angola says.

Continuing role

Although the UN's current mandate lasts for six months, its political influence will be much less when the work of the joint commission is concludes.

However its role in providing humanitarian assistance is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Aid groups say that up to half a million Angolan people face starvation in the aftermath of the war.

Unita is particularly concerned about the welfare of 300,000 former rebel soldiers and their families who are living in demobilisation centres waiting for help to be reintegrated into civilian life.

Jonas Savimbi, killed after 26 years of civil war

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See also:

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