Angola heads for war

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The Independent Online
UNITED NATIONS special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi began talks yesterday with parties involved in Angola's faltering peace process in a bid to halt the country's slide towards war.

The veteran Algerian diplomat is scheduled to meet representatives of the UN observer mission in Angola, UN agencies, and the troika of mediating states - Russia, Portugal and the United States.

A UN-mediated peace agreement, the 1994 Lusaka Protocol, ended 20 years of civil war between the Angolan government and the Unita rebel movement.

Only a few clauses of the agreement remain to be implemented, but Unita has balked at surrendering its last few strongholds to the government.

Over the past two months negotiations between the government and rebels have stalled, armed attacks have spread throughout the countryside and both sides appear to be readying for full-scale fighting.

Angolan state media have mounted a hostile propaganda campaign against Unita, which on Friday prompted both the US embassy and UN mission to issue statements denouncing the government's "provocative rhetoric". The US said it was deeply concerned about Angola's slide towards war. - AP