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United Nations Verification Mission in Angola (UNAVEM I)

This mission was the first time Spain took part in a peacekeeping operation. It was set up in response to UN Security Resolution 626 (1988) in order to verify “the redeployment to the north and the staged and total withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, according to an agreed timetable.”

International officers started to be deployed in January 1989. They came from ten countries, including Spain. Every country initially contributed seven officers but the figure was reduced to six in January 1990. The mission came to an end in July 1991 but it was prolonged and, after being given a new mandate, became UNAVEM II.

In effect, after the withdrawal of the Cuban troops the United Nations was asked to increase its presence in Angola. As a result, in late May 1991 the Security Council passed Resolution 696 which granted a mandate aiming at “verify[ing] the arrangements agreed by the Angolan parties for the monitoring of the ceasefire and for the monitoring of the Angolan police during the ceasefire period” – right after the Estoril Accords put an end to 16 years of civil war.

350 troops from 24 countries were then deployed in Angola - 21 from Spain. The mission was expected to last seventeen months, but the conflict resulting from the presidential and parliamentary elections forced the UN to prolong the mission until December 1993.

All in all, 62 Spanish soldiers took part in UNAVEM I y II.