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Namibia talks aid Angolan leader

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos appears to have won an important political victory at home after the first top-level talks between the South African and Angolan governments on Namibia.

The central committee of the ruling MPLA-Workers Party granted the President new powers reportedly giving him a full mandate to take whatever steps he deems necessary to solve Angola's problems.

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Among the Angolan government's chief problems are a growing guerrilla insurgency from the MPLA's key rival for power, Jonas Savimbi's UNITA movement, and a deteriorating economic situation. The insurgency movement against the MPLA is supplied arms by South Africa. And South Africa itself initiates raids into Angola from bases in Namibia, which South Africa occupies.

The Angolan government knows there is no prospect of rebuilding the economy until a Namibia independent of South Africa puts an end to South Africa's seven-year war against Angola, Monitor contributor Richard Timsar reports. Thus the talks with South Africa on the future of Namibia appear to be a step toward improving the domestic situation within Angola.

The MPLA's unanimous vote to extend Mr. dos Santos's powers appears to end feuding within the party and to shift power away from Marxist hard-liners.

One possible agreement that South Africa and Angola could make is for Pretoria to drop support for Savimbi in return for a Luanda commitment to keep SWAPO guerrillas (who are fighting South Africa in Namibia) under control.

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