Letters to Gabriella: Angola’s Last War for Peace, What the UN Did and Why

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War in Angola lasted intermittently for more than forty years. After a failed attempt at peace from 1994 to 1998 a full scale conventional war broke out again at the end of 1998. This marked the end of a United Nations attempt, lasting more than twelve years, to make peace in this country. It was one of the first big UN missions after the Cold War and turned into a spectacular and expensive failure. Throughout this last "War for Peace" from 1998-2002 the author lived and worked in Huambo, at the epicentre of the war, implementing a United Nations project. This project, poorly planned initially, was restructured locally and achieved considerable successes before finally succumbing to UN incompetence that saw two thirds of its funding disappear and degenerated into a web of lies, excuses and accusations as the UN refused to provide an explanation to donors, the Angolan government and people, project staff and the press of what went wrong and why.