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Angelo posted to West Africa

Gift Phiri

UNITED Nations(UN) secretary-general Kofi An-nan has assigned Zimbabwe’s UN resident coordinator, Victor Angelo, to West Africa to head a peacekeeping mission.

“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Angelo had fie-rce run-ins with President Robert Mugabe’s embattled government during his four-year tenure inwhich the diplomat was accused of taking sides with white commercial farmers and exaggerating the country’s humanitarian needs.

Angelo will take up the position of assistant secretary-general of the UN in turbulent West Africa.

This came as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Harare dismissed the state-controlled Sunday Mail claims that Angelo had been recalled amid reports that the world body was furious at the way he had tarnished the UN image by meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal politics.

“The UNDP would like to express its rejection of the article ‘UN pulls out Zim Rep’ published in the Sunday Mail of 3 October 2004, concerning its resident representative in Zimbabwe, Mr J Victor Angelo,” UNDP said in a statement. “The story was unfortunate and misleading.”

Angelo, a career diplomat, was appointed UNDP resident representative in September 2000 replacing Carlos Lopes. A new envoy who is set to start his duties on November 1, appears headed for a stormy tenure as well after Mugabe publicly expressed his disdain at the current structure of the UN system.

Angelo had rocky relations with the government stemming mainly from attempts to direct government into implementing the land reform programme in an orderly way. He was prepared to talk to donors not only on humanitarian issues but also on mobilising financial support for the land resettlement exercise.

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