Angola Wants to Trade Bullets for Ballots

The opinion-page article ``UNITA, Angola, and Calls for Reconciliation,'' July 14, by Jonas Savimbi, head of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), in response to the opinion-page article June 29 by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is revealing but not very encouraging.

While the author was professing his concern for the welfare of Angola, his troops were firing on United Nations World Food Program aircraft carrying food and medicine to civilians. The WFP has been repeatedly forced to halt its mercy missions because of UNITA attacks.

Contrary to Mr. Savimbi's claims, the International Red Cross has certified that Angola holds no political prisoners.

Savimbi has a warped view of democracy: He apparently only recognizes those elections in which UNITA did well, and then misrepresents them. This apparently allows him to claim victory in provinces where his party had a plurality in the National Assembly elections in 1992, but to reject the national outcome because voters rejected UNITA.

Also, the elections in the provinces he professes to have won were not, as implied, for the governorships of those provinces, but for representation in the National Assembly, and UNITA holds all the seats it won.

Instead of accepting the decision of voters in an election internationally recognized as free and fair, UNITA has waged a war that has left tens of thousands dead and millions homeless. Savimbi's contention of having agreed ``in principle'' to the outcome of the UN-mediated peace talks is misleading. The Angolan government has accepted this proposal, including much we do not like, while UNITA consistently refuses unless all its demands are met.

Huambo is not a historic homeland for UNITA, but rather a province it conquered in 1992 and a potential power base for the partition of Angola. UN mediation has offered UNITA vice-governorship of Huambo province and mayoralty of Huambo city, but Savimbi insists on full control of ``his'' province.

Had UNITA not restarted the civil war when it lost the 1992 elections, the elected government of Angola would today be holding long-planned local elections.

The same is true of presidential elections. Mr. Dos Santos won 49 percent in the first round of elections and Savimbi, who received 40 percent of the vote, was afraid he would lose in the runoff and decided to go with the bullet rather than the ballot. The Angolan government remains eager to accept the verdict of the voters and complete the elections.

We have unconditionally accepted the UN mediator's proposal. We join with the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, Portugal, and an overwhelming majority of nations in urging UNITA to do the same. Jose Patricio, Washington Ambassador of Angola

US wages underfunded war on drugs

Congress does not seem to agree with the article ``Why Drugs Keep Flowing: Too Little Emphasis on Treating Heavy Users,'' July 20, which supports more funds for drug treatment. Out of the $355 million President Clinton requested to expand drug treatment opportunities, Congress has only approved $61 million thus far. This is a long way from our intended goal.

The 1994 National Drug Control Strategy makes treatment of chronic, hard-core drug users one of its top priorities. This is the first National Drug Control Strategy that heavily emphasizes demand reduction through treatment, prevention, and education.

At the same time, this administration realizes the importance of a balanced approach to the drug crisis in our country. Treatment alone cannot solve the drug problem. Supply control also plays an important role. We will continue to have supply-reduction programs, such as interdiction and source-country programs. This is not an either/or debate. An effective national drug-control strategy cannot be accomplished by funding some effective programs at the expense of others.

The success of the 1994 National Drug Control Strategy cannot be realized without proper funding and a total commitment from Congress to reduce drug use and its availability in our country. Lee Brown, Washington Director Office of National Drug Control Policy

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Angola Wants to Trade Bullets for Ballots
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today