The leader of the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA) accused the Soviet Union of using Cuban mercenaries as "cannon fodder" in the Angolan Civil war.
GV Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka.
SV Savimbi -from left, unknown, Dr. George Sangumba, Dr. Savimbi, first right member of UNITA, unknown.
SV Newsmen. (2 shots)
SAVIMBI: "We know that the South African issue is an emotional issue in Africa. We know what it means when they say that UNITA is being helped by South Africa. We are reiterating here, our position that we are not being helped by South Africa - at all. More than that, we want to say this, and publicly -for years, the only liberation movement - I'm referring to all of them -not MPLA, not FNLA - the only liberation movement in which we were fighting side by side with the SWAPO, is UNITA. Now at this moment when I'm talking, the SWAPO freedom fighters are with us, and not a single one was harmed by UNITA -unless they come out, the SWAPO, with a statement saying that UNITA has betrayed our struggle, UNITA is working with the South Africans. That's challenge, so that our political bureau will take a stand - never against the liberation of Namibia, because we are committed to the liberation of Namibia.
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This film is serviced with a sound extract from DR. Savimbi's news conference, a transcript of which follows below
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The leader of the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA) accused the Soviet Union of using Cuban mercenaries as "cannon fodder" in the Angolan Civil war. Dr. Jonas Savimbi was speaking at a news conference in Lusaka, Zambia, on Thursday (11 December) when he made the allegations.
He said he was ready to take captured Cuban and Katangese mercenaries to the proposed summit meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and if necessary to the United Nations, to expose the Soviet role in Angola.
Dr. Savimbi said that the Cubans had not been invited to fight in Angola by Dr. Agostinho Neto, the leader of the rival Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). It was Russia alone who had brought them into the fighting.
He claimed that one group of 450 Cuban soldiers had arrived in Angola before 5 August, the date fighting began between the MPLA and UNITA. It had shown, he said, that the MPLA - together with the Soviet Union and Cuba - had planned the "invasion" of Cuba.
The planned OAU summit meeting in Addis Ababa this month, said Dr. Savimbi, would be the most important in the Organisation's history. The face that Russia was showing in Angola, he said, should be a warning to the continent of Africa.
He also denied that South African troops were fighting alongside UNITA forces in Angola. He described such reports as a "smoke screen" and "mere propaganda" designed to tarnish the image of his organisation.
SYNOPSIS: (MUTE) In an office in the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, on Thursday, a news conference was given by the leader of the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola, Dr. Jonas Savimbi. Once again he denied that UNITA forces were being helped by South African troops.