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Dec. 1988: United States- brokered peace talks between Cuba, South Africa, and Angola lead to an accord on the withdrawal of 50,000 Cuban troops from Angola by June 1991.

June 1989: Jose Eduardo dos Santos, president of Angola and the ruling MPLA, and Jonas Savimbi, leader of the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), sign a cease-fire accord at their first meeting in Gbadolite, Zaire. It soon collapses.

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April 1990: UNITA agrees to an immediate cease-fire and requests direct negotiations with the government. Lisbon hosts first exploratory talks between representatives of UNITA and the MPLA.

Dec. 1990: At the third congress of the MPLA since July, the ruling party formally replaces its Marxist-Leninist program with "democratic socialism." The MPLA legalizes political parties, transfers Army from party to state control, and embraces free-market economics.

March 1991: Constitutional amendments passed by the government formally establish multiparty democracy and call for democratic presidential elections by secret ballot to be held by the end of 1992.

May 1991: UNITA and the MPLA sign a new cease-fire agreement underwritten by Portugal, the US, and the Soviet Union.

May 1992: Mr. dos Santos and Mr. Savimbi meet for the second time inside the country to discuss progress with the peace accords. Registration for elections begins.

June 1992: Visit by Pope John Paul II calms rising tensions.

Aug. 10, 1992: Voter registration closes; 4.8 million of an estimated total of 5.4 million potential voters sign up for the ballot.

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Aug. 28, 1992: Election campaign officially opens.

Sept. 7, 1992: Dos Santos and Savimbi meet to diffuse rising tensions. They agree to work toward a government of national unity after the elections and agree that the MPLA and UNITA armies should be disbanded on Sept. 27.

Sept. 29-30, 1992: Angola to hold first democratic elections.

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