Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hope for Angola

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hope for Angola

Article excerpt

ANGOLANS may finally be viewing the end of their country's 20-year civil war. The war has pitted not only a ruling faction against a rebel one, but both factions against every aspect of normal life. Farming stopped as fields were sown with land mines; a whole generation came to know little but combat.

This was a classic cold-war sideshow. The left-leaning government was aided by the Soviet Union and Cuba, while the rebel forces were sustained by South Africa and the United States. With those supporting roles vacant, the conflict had to wind down. And the United Nations, its 7,460-man peacekeeping mission now moving in, has the job of managing Angola's transition to stability.

It won't be easy. On the positive side, the country is thoroughly tired of war. Its citizens have little sympathy for either side, and simply want to get back to educating children, tending businesses, and planting crops. The principals in the conflict - President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and rebel leader Jonas Savimbi - met in Lusaka, Zambia, in May and shook hands. That was their first direct meeting in years, though their armies agreed last November to stop fighting. …

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