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High Commissioner in Africa: Angola final stop on curtailed mission

Briefing notes

High Commissioner in Africa: Angola final stop on curtailed mission

22 August 2003

High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers, on a mission to Africa, arrived in the Angolan capital, Luanda, yesterday evening (Thursday). Angola is the second leg of what was originally planned to be a four-nation visit to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Tanzania and Burundi. He will now return directly to Geneva from Angola on Sunday cutting short his ten-day Africa mission due to recent events in Iraq.

The High Commissioner is today expected to meet with senior government officials in Luanda today before travelling to Moxico province in eastern Angola, tomorrow (Saturday) to assess the return programme for Angolan refugees.

Since we launched a major operation to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Angolan refugees, more than 15,000 Angolan refugees from the DRC, Zambia and Namibia have returned home with UNHCR assistance. This is in addition to more than 130,000 who have made their own way home since last year.

We expect to aid the return of an estimated 70,000 Angolan refugees to return home this year. In December last year, we launched an appeal for more than $29 million for this operation. So far, we have received $16 million towards this appeal. The US government has announced a new donation of an additional $4 million for the Angolan repatriation. UNHCR is very grateful to the United States for this donation.

Yesterday, the High Commissioner met with the Congolese President, Joseph Kabila. He discussed with him UNHCR's plans for the possible return of more than 300,000 Congolese refugees in surrounding countries.