History, The Lusaka Protocol and Recent Developments
Savimbi, unified government, peace accord, peacekeeping troops, peace talks
In November 1994 UNITA leaders and government representatives signed a peace accord in Lusaka, Zambia, that became known as the Lusaka Protocol. In May 1995 a UN mediator succeeded in bringing dos Santos and Savimbi to Lusaka to meet face to face. There they signed the accord, which called for a cease-fire, the demobilization and integration into the Angolan army of UNITA troops, and the creation of a coalition government. The UN undertook the task of enforcing the agreement, the third since war broke out in 1975, by agreeing to send 7,000 peacekeeping troops to Angola in 1995. The demobilization of UNITA troops progressed slowly.
In May 1996 the government and UNITA agreed to merge their armies and create a unified government. After numerous delays, a unified government was inaugurated in April 1997, with dos Santos remaining as president and UNITA becoming the largest opposition group in parliament. However, Savimbi, who was to assume the official position of leader of the opposition, refused to venture to Luanda, citing a lack of security. By June tension rose again, as the government criticized Savimbi for not complying with the terms of the Lusaka Protocol. In mid-1997 only a small percentage of UNITA forces had integrated into the government’s army, and the remaining UNITA forces had reportedly begun mobilizing again in the north. Fighting between government and UNITA armies resumed in 1998, displacing hundreds of thousands of Angolans. In early 1999 the UN terminated its peacekeeping mission in Angola, criticizing both Savimbi and dos Santos for lack of commitment to the peace process.
Fighting continued until early 2002, when Savimbi was killed in an ambush by government troops. The government subsequently suspended military operations and entered into peace talks with the remaining UNITA leadership. In April 2002—just weeks after Savimbi’s death—the two sides signed a peace agreement, pledging to work together to demobilize UNITA’s tens of thousands of fighters.
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