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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 11, 1997


     Formation of Government of National Unity and Reconciliation
                         in Angola

The United States applauds the formation today of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation (GURN) in Angola. With this milestone, agreed to by the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) when they signed the Lusaka Protocol in November 1994, the leaders of Angola have taken the courageous decision to put behind them decades of fighting and give the Angolan people the opportunity to live in peace and prosperity.

By joining this new unity government, UNITA commits to transform itself from an armed opposition movement into a political party, working within a political system to build a stable, democratic Angola. In welcoming UNITA into the government, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has underscored his commitment to political pluralism and the ruling party's willingness to work constructively with its former adversaries, including UNITA President Dr. Jonas Savimbi.

The U.S. encourages both the Government and UNITA to continue to work for reconciliation as they implement the remaining elements of the Lusaka Protocol, including integration of UNITA forces into the national armed forces and extension of state administration. It is important that both the Angolan government and UNITA continue to view the formation of the GURN as but an important step in the overall process of achieving a lasting peace in Angola and not the final stage.