A high-level United Nations mission has been dispatched to Angola to talk with government officials in Luanda about providing famine relief to all affected Angolan provinces.

The mission, led by Abdulrahim Farah, U.N. undersecretary general for special political questions, will try to develop a plan ensuring "safe passage for personnel and relief supplies" to stricken areas in rebel-held territories, according to Manuel Pedro Pacavira, Angola's U.N. ambassador.

"Among other things, we expect to discuss and to identify specific overland delivery routes for transportation of food and other humanitarian supplies to Angolans in all parts of the country," Pacavira said.

The U.N. team will be in Luanda for several days. Other members of the mission, Pacavira said, are Charles La Muniere, director of emergency operations for UNICEF, and B. Szyhnalski, chief of the World Food Program's disaster relief service. Pacavira said the team was being sent in response to his government's "formal request for assistance."

At least 782,000 people in both rebel and government-controlled areas of southern Angola face starvation. U.S. officials have said 250,000 are at "immediate risk," including 150,000 in rebel-controlled areas adjacent to Namibia and Botswana.