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Published 1st June 2001

Vol 42 No 11


Who blinks first?

Government and UNITA rebels edge reluctantly towards a ceasefire and new negotiations in one of Africa's longest-running wars

Rebel leader Jonas Savimbi has a cruel sense of timing. For 18 months, he has been calling on the ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola to start talking again to his União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola. On 2 May, President José Eduardo dos Santos made his most conciliatory statement for a year, talking of a 'route to peace' and a dialogue with UNITA (AC Vol 42 No 9). Three days later, Savimbi's fighters killed at least 80 people in Caxito, abducting 60 children from a local orphanage. Many in Luanda believe both leaders are inching towards new negotiations but want to save face and get the best negotiating position beforehand. Dos Santos is under pressure from the growing popularity of Luanda's peace movement and needs a ceasefire if he's to hold elections next year. Savimbi is feeling the pressure of sanctions, the government's military efforts and the factionalising of his UNITA organisation.

Lev Leviev takes on De Beers

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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De Beers announced on 24 May that it was suspending its investment and prospection in Angola's diamond business. That is a triumph for Lev Leviev, whose diamond interests are worth...

Ole Kufuor!

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The President scores on his first major international trip

As a row simmered over security for former President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Kufuor jetted off to speak at the African Development Bank's 29-31 May meeting in Valencia,...

Political eclipse

The 'Red Admiral', sure of re-election, has a vision of the future

Anxious to show he cares about his people's welfare, President Didier Ratsiraka is worrying about the solar eclipse due in southern Africa on 21 June. He recently inaugurated the n...

Wade's blue wave

The President now has a supportive parliament as well as government

The first year of 'transition' in partnership with Prime Minister Moustapha Niasse was difficult. Niasse's dismissal in March and now the parliamentary elections of 29 April have g...


Follow me, follow

The United States fears East Africa may follow West Africa into chronic instability. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, visiting Kenya last week, had two symptoms of regional sick...

Got your number

Oil industry circles are intrigued by an emerging Libyan-connected oil trading firm registered in Zurich.

Mobile bank

Anti-globalisation demonstrators, worries about security at headquarters in Côte d'Ivoire and competition over rival African development plans intruded on the businesslike bu...

Authoritarian urge

It is inconceivable that the seven-year gaol sentence passed by a High State Security Court on 21 May against Saadeddin Ibrahim, a sociologist at the American University in Cairo, ...