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Friday, April 3, 1998 Published at 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK

World: Africa

Angola peace process in limbo
image: [ Angolan President Dos Santos (left) greets the Unita Vice-President, Antonio Dembo ]
Angolan President Dos Santos (left) greets the Unita Vice-President, Antonio Dembo

The peace process in Angola has entered a new period of uncertainty after the expiry of the latest deadline for the 1994 accord between the government and the rebel movement Unita to come into effect.

A senior Unita delegation held talks in the capital, Luanda, on Thursday on concluding the UN-sponsored peace process.

The Unita Vice-President, Antonio Dembo met the Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and handed over a letter from his leader, Jonas Savimbi, who has refused to leave his stronghold of Andulo in central Angola.

The contents of the letter were unknown, but UN diplomats said they hoped it contained a timetable for transferring remaining Unita-held areas to government control.

Deadline missed

Under the peace accord signed in 1994, this should have happened by midnight on Wednesday. Unita was also required to disband all its troops and transfer the party's headquarters to Luanda.

The plan has suffered frequent delays. Four years ago, Unita questioned the results of the election which was intended to resolve the conflict, and renewed the civil war.

Unita still refuses to say when Dr Savimbi himself will come to Luanda, and, so long as he remains outside the capital, the authorities will continue to be wary of his intentions.

The UN Security Council is to consider extending its mission in Angola by the end of the month. Council members have shown growing impatience with financing the operation without any clear sign of progress.

However the rebel movement did meet one provision of the accord - it ceased broadcasting from its propaganda mouthpiece.

Vorgan, or the Voice of the Resistance of the Black Cockerel, has been on air for 19 years without interruption.


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