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One of the first positive spin-offs for Angola of the December peace accord has been international support for a rehabilitation of the Benguela railway. Work on the 1,000-mile line is a pet project of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference, which aims to ease the region's economic dependence on South Africa. The Benguela line is southern Africa's only link - aside from South Africa - to the west coast.

After a meeting in Luanda last month, 30 donors indicated support - in principle - for nearly $95 million worth of projects. Promises of money this time, said a European delegate, ``are, in the first place, a political statement of our support for Angola's efforts to achieve peace. The rest will follow.''

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The meeting included officials of the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development. According to Harare-based USAID official, though the US does not aid Angola for political reasons, ``that might change, since it is a time of change in the region.''

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