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Mozambican prelate visits U.S. seeking peacekeepers.

NEW YORK -- A Mozambican church leader's appeals for enhanced international peacekeeping action in his southern African nation received words of sympathy but no tangible pledges of support, during visits to New York and Washington last week.

Archbishop Jaime Goncalves urged a rapid increase in the U.N.'s minimal Mozambican peacekeeping presence in meetings with senior U.S. and U.N. officials. His four-day visit ended Feb. 20.

Goncalves fears his country may become "another Angola" unless the U.N. acts fast, he told NCR. Angola plunged back into civil war after U.N.-supervised elections last year, when losing presidential candidate Jonas Savimbi moved to grab with the bullet the power he failed to win with the ballot.

"The danger in Africa," Goncalves said, "is that when they have elections people forget the principles of society -- of peace, freedom and a democratic atmosphere -- because they all want to win."

At the U.N., Goncalves delivered his message to Under Secretaries-General Jan Eliasson (humanitarian affairs) and James Jonah (African operations). He told them that the U.N. must send military observers to supervise demobilization and keep the peace during elections planned for later this year. The U.N. officials expressed sympathy, but told him they lack the money needed to expand their presence.

In Washington, Goncalves met with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa-designate George Moose and other senior Africa policy officials. They shared his belief that the U.N. should do more, Goncalves said. However, the State Department is ill-equipped to move fast on any African issue. The Africa bureau is still staffed by Bush-era holdovers and, apart from Moose, no members of the new team have yet been named.

A pivotal and sometimes controversial figure in Mozambican public life, Goncalves served as chief mediator during three years of peace talks, which led last October to a cease-fire between South Africa-linked RENAMO rebels and the Mozambican government. Goncalves is a member of the Ndau ethnic group from which RENAMO draws much of its leadership, and some critics assert -- despite his adamant denials -- that he has tilted toward the rebels.

During his recent visit, Goncalves also sought support from U.S. Catholic leaders for ambitious institution-building plans, but fared little better on this part of his agenda.

Following meetings with Cardinal James Hickey of Washington and Archbishop William H. Keeler of Baltimore, the U.S. Catholic Conference chair, Goncalves told NCR that he hopes to find foreign funding for a Catholic radio station and a proposed Catholic university to be located in his diocese. However, church officials note that the U.S. Catholic Conference has no money for such ambitious foreign projects, while Catholic Relief Services, which Goncalves visited during a trip to Baltimore, emphasizes local-level relief and development work.
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Title Annotation:Archbishop Jaime Goncalves
Author:Collins, Carole
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Mar 5, 1993
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