Source Pravda.Ru

European Union to aid Angola

The European Union prepares to send urgently needed aid to Angola after the go-ahead is given by the Council of General Affairs in Brussels.

The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Antonio Martins da Cruz, raised the issue in the Council, where a positive response was obtained from the United Kingdom, Italy and France. The European Commission is expected to increase this year’s 250 million Euro aid package for Angola to help the country stabilise socially and politically, after forty years of civil war, first against the colonial power, Portugal (1961 – 1974) and then in fighting between the ruling faction MPLA and the rebel faction UNITA, which ended with the death on February 20th this year with the death of UNITA leader Dr. Jonas Savimbi.

A donor’s conference is planned for next October, when the EU is expected to approve a further 150 million Euro package. The Council of General Affairs issued a statement which expressed “the will to aid the efforts of the people of Angola to reach a lasting peace, stability and sustained development of the country”. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between MPLA and UNITA on 4th April, which established a cease-fire in Angola.

However, the work begins here, due to the fact that there are some 12 million anti-personnel mines in the country, one for each citizen. UNITA needs support to transform from a military faction into a true political party and its armed forces, said to be nearly 100,000, need outside aid if they are ever to be integrated into the Angolan Armed Forces or civilian society.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru