Savimbi Consents To Talks in Angola

THE leader of Angola's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, Jonas Savimbi, is ready to meet President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for reconciliation talks, a UNITA official said Saturday.

The southern African nation has been sliding toward civil war since Mr. Savimbi rejected the results of elections in September, in which UNITA was soundly defeated by the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

UNITA Communications Secretary Jorge Valentim, quoted by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, said the need for fresh talks between the rival leaders was urgent. Mr. Valentim appeared to be responding to a United Nations Security Council statement Tuesday urging the two sides to show a willingness to work together.

The UN organized the September elections, Angola's first-ever democratic poll. President dos Santos won 49 percent of the vote, just under the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Since then, thousands of people have been killed in clashes in Luanda, and UNITA has taken control of more than two-thirds of the country.

UNITA and the MPLA fought for 16 years after independence from Portugal in 1975 before signing a cease-fire accord in Lisbon in 1991.

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