July 2, 2003

UNITA opts to stay in interim government

Angola's former rebel group UNITA on Wednesday, June 30, said it would achieve more by remaining in the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation (GNUR) until the country's next elections are held. "At our congress we decided that, since the country is still in process of transition, it would be reasonable to continue to be part of the GNUR. There remain many important bilateral issues which UNITA has to tackle, together with the government, to ensure the transition is complete and successful," UNITA secretary for foreign affairs, Alcides Sakala, told IRIN.

Under the 1994 Lusaka protocol, UNITA is entitled to hold four ministerial positions as well as a number of deputy-minister posts. Sakala added that while UNITA would continue to be part of the GNUR, the group would "carefully supervise" the actions of its ministers. "We don't agree with several government policies and will ensure that our representatives in government make our objections clear." The reintegration of former UNITA soldiers into civilian life and the resettlement of returning refugees were the chief concerns following UNITA's recent congress, Sakala said.

Isaias Samakuva was elected the new leader of the party at its congress last week. (IRIN)

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