TITLE=ANGOLA / UNITA (L ONLY)
INTRO: Angola's UNITA rebel movement says United
Nations officials are deluding themselves if they
think sanctions against rebel forces will bring about
an early end to the nation's civil war. V-O-A
Southern Africa Correspondent Alex Belida spoke with a
top UNITA official by telephone and has this
(exclusive) report from Johannesburg.
TEXT: UNITA Foreign Secretary Alcides Sakala says the
chairman of the U-N Sanctions Committee for Angola is
dreaming if he believes sanctions have weakened the
rebels militarily. He says Canadian Ambassador Robert
Fowler has been deceived by Angolan government
Mr. Sakala tells V-O-A the latest offensive by
government troops has failed completely in its
objective of killing or capturing UNITA's top leaders
and destroying the rebels' capacity to fight.
Speaking by satellite telephone from an undisclosed
location inside Angola, Mr. Sakala says UNITA forces
have now counter-attacked around the country, striking
at government forces and even downing a government
However, the UNITA official denies responsibility for
the downing one year ago of two United Nations planes.
In videotaped interviews played to the Security
Council this week, former UNITA soldiers claimed the
rebels shot down the transport aircraft.
But Mr. Sakala says these were statements by prisoners
of war forced to say what their captors want them to
say. Mr. Sakala charges the Angolan government shot
down the U-N planes as part of its effort to force U-N
peacekeepers out of the country. The U-N peacekeeping
mission in Angola was shut down last year.
Mr. Sakala also accuses Angolan President Jose Eduardo
Dos Santos of participating in what he describes as
the destabilization of Southern Africa by taking the
conflict into Namibia.
He charges that Mr. Dos Santos is now trying to drag
Zambia into the war by staging cross-border
provocations that are blamed on UNITA - an apparent
reference to recent attacks on several Zambian
villages allegedly carried out by the Angolan rebels.
He urges Zambian President Frederick Chiluba to be
vigilant. Mr. Sakala denies UNITA forces have been
active in either Namibia or Zambia.
However the UNITA foreign secretary acknowledges the
rebels have suffered heavy losses in southeastern
Angola near the border with both countries. He
accuses President Dos Santos of pursuing a policy of
killing anyone associated with UNITA and even
desecrating rebel graveyards.
Still, Mr. Sakala tells V-O-A the rebels remain ready
to discuss their differences with the Angolan
government, which has ruled out any further
negotiations with UNITA. As he puts it,
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