Unita to leave captured towns

Luanda (AFP) - The Angolan Unita opposition movement has agreed to withdraw from the provincial towns of Uige and Negage, which it seized 21 days ago, to facilitate the resumption of peace talks with the government, Jeffrey Davidow, a US deputy assistant secretary of state, said yesterday.

Mr Davidow, who met Jonas Savimbi, the Unita leader, on Saturday, said a Unita general would today go to Uige and Negage with the United Nations peace monitoring force to accomplish the withdrawal. He expected after that that peace talks would probably resume around 25 December.

The news came as a relief to Angolans, who had feared an outbreak of fighting, as Unita considers 25 December to be its national day.