LIBERIA Troops loyal to President Samuel Doe have recaptured large parts of Liberia's capital in a violent counterattack that halted rebel forces advancing on the besieged leader.
Some 500 government soldiers, advancing behind one remaining tank, surprised the scattered rebel troops Tuesday and regained control of several blocks of central Monrovia's streets, witnesses said.
Overall control of the area remained unclear. A massacre of hundreds of refugees by government troops last weekend increased international pressure for a resolution of the conflict.
Mr. Doe, in a telephone interview Tuesday with the British Broadcasting Corporation, pledged to continue the battle until the rebels had been totally defeated.
President Joaquim Chissano announced Tuesday that the politburo of his ruling Frelimo party had unanimously agreed the country should become a multiparty state.
He said that if the Politburo's decision were endorsed by parliament in October, rival parties would be able to contest the next general election scheduled for 1991. Mr. Chissano said the decision followed a nationwide debate on constitutional change.
Chissano's administration began direct talks with the right-wing Renamo rebels in Rome this month to try to end the civil war which is estimated to have claimed nearly a million lives. Chissano said that if Renamo laid down its arms, it would be free to organize itself into a political party.
The powerful Muslim fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front, winner of last June's local elections, said Monday it welcomed Algerian President Chadli Benjedid's decision to advance the date of national elections by nearly a year.
Algerian political observers said Monday that Mr. Benjedid had no choice but to move up the elections, originally scheduled for January 1992, following the Islamic front's victory over the ruling National Liberation Front in local elections last June.
The national elections will also demonstrate the strength of Algeria's other opposition parties. Most of the major parties have said they will participate in the parliamentary elections.
In a gesture of reconciliation, President Kenneth Kaunda freed unconditionally a former high court commissioner and three other men sentenced to life imprisonment for a 1980 coup attempt.
Edward Shamwana, an architect of Zambia's multiparty constitution, which was abolished in favor of one-party rule in 1973, said: ``The present political set-up has not worked ... we have entered into a period where we have to reexamine it.'' Under pressure to reform Zambia's political system, Kaunda has agreed to a referendum on the multiparty system in August 1991.
President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo told President Bush on Tuesday that the West should set up ``a real Marshall Plan'' to boost Africa's economy. He said African economies had been badly hurt by a dip in export income because of falling prices for raw materials. ``We are insistently calling on industrialized countries to stabilize the markets of raw materials, [and] to eliminate obstacles in North-South trade,'' Mr. Eyadema said.