Clinton finally pulls plug on Angola rebels: US recognition boosts government
Until a few weeks ago, US officials said Washington would only recognise the Luanda government when it reached agreement with Unita. They also appeared to be using the 'threat' of recognition to persuade Unita to reach a ceasefire agreement. But Wednesday's statement indicates that they have become exasperated with Unita's intransigence.
The talks in Abidjan are held up by Unita's refusal to withdraw from towns it has seized since relaunching the civil war in October. Unita resumed fighting after it lost the United Nations-monitored elections in September, which it denounced as fraudulent. The UN and the US accepted the results but Unita troops attacked government forces throughout the country and fighting is reported to be continuing in the north and east.
Jorge Valentim, leader of the Unita delegation at the peace talks, said: 'The US decision will embolden the MPLA's negotiators in Abidjan and give them the impression they can now stall the negotiations.'
But observers at the talks said it was Unita that was holding up the talks, and the movement's desperation is reflected in Unita Radio's recent appeal against US recognition. It said the elections were rigged, and added: 'US standards of justice are not consistent with recognition of the fraudulent, Communist and genocidal Luanda government.'
But Mr Clinton, announcing recognition, said: 'It is my hope Unita will accept a negotiated peace settlement and it will be part of this government.'
Recognition also closes an unfortunate chapter of US policy in Africa, in which it backed a movement it believed to be democratic and to have majority support, but which refused to accept the results of an election which it lost.
From 1975, when the US-backed movements, Unita and the FNLA, were defeated by the Cuban-backed MPLA, Washington refused to recognise the MPLA but the Clark Amendment banned US military support for Angolan political movements. Washington said it would not recognise the MPLA until Cuban troops were removed from Angola.
Then, in 1985, the Clark Amendment was repealed, allowing the Reagan administration to give Unita up to dollars 20m ( pounds 13m) worth of military equipment including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
When Luanda agreed to dispense with its Cuban allies and talk to Unita, the price of US recognition was changed to include democratic elections. When these were held, there was no recognition even when the MPLA accepted the results and Unita rejected them.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...