July 30, 2003

Parliament postpones approval of new flag

Political disagreement in today's session has caused the National Assembly (Parliament) to postpone the approval by the Constitutional Commisssion of the country's new flag to be part of the future Constitution. "We do not have the new flag yet, but we have not finished with the subject", said the MPLA deputy (MP) Rui Falcão at the end of that organ's meeting, having considered that there are some disagreements in terms of political ideals, aesthetics and a few other points for which they need to find some consensus.

Rui Falcão refuted the rumours alledging that the proposals under analysis are still similar to the present national flag or to the ruling MPLA's colours. When asked about the possibility of resorting to vote, in case the disagreement persists, he replied, "We want to avoid voting, reason why we are trying to gather the necessary consensus", appealing for patience because this is a complicated political process. "We will see if by the beginning of the next legislative session we finish all the work", said Rui Falcão. The Constitutional Commission will only meet again next Tuesday (August 5).

Last February the Constitutional Commission got a report about the results obtained by the Sub-Commission for National Symbols, coordinated by the deputy Ana Maria de Oliveira, having the sub-commission selected from a series of public proposals three samples each for the country's new Flag, Insignia and National Anthem.

About 288 citizens have run for the contest with their proposals out of which came the last three samples for each subject (Flag, Insignia and Anthem). The winners will receive a medal and a monetary amount in national currency equivalent to 20.000 US Dollars. The Constitutional Commission is made up of 44 members and was created in 1998 to be in charge of drafting the country's new constitutional text which is now at an advanced stage of elaboration.

Meanwhile, a joint report from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agricultural organization of the United Nations (FAO) has concluded that more than 1million peoples are in need of food aid in Angola, in spite of the increasing of the agricultural production, a year after the end of the armed conflict. The food assessment and follow up report, jointly carried out by FAO and WFP, warns the need to maintain the emergency of food aid.

The report indicates that the rains in abundance, the return of peasant people to their lands and the assistance to agricultural sector caused a 14 percent increasing of the cultivated areas, thus stimulating considerably the performance of 2002/2003 farming year. In the report, the two UN's agencies warned Angola not to turn aside the attention of the huge task for economic and social development yet to be fulfilled, inspite of its enormous potential. The document concludes that the country's agricultural potential and the return of peasantpeople to their lands will contibute for a quick improvement of food situation. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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