Saturday, 10 December 2011

Alvor Agreement, Lisbon, January 1975, and Subsequent Events

Leftist military officers overthrew the Portugese Government in the Carnation Revolution on April 25, 1974, The MPLA, FNLA, and UNITA each negotiated peace agreements with the transitional Portuguese government and began to fight each other for control of Luanda and the country. Holden Roberto, Agostinho Neto, and Jonas Savimbi met in Bukavu, Zaire in July and agreed to negotiate with the Portuguese as one political entity. They met again in Mombasa, Kenya on January 5, 1975 and agreed to stop fighting each other, further outlining constitutional negotiations with the Portuguese. They met for a third time in Alvor, Portugal from January 10-15 and signed what became known as the Alvor Agreement.

The agreement did not establish a mechanism to verify the number of troops that could be maintained by each political group. All three parties soon had forces greater in number than the Portuguese, endangering the colonial power's ability to keep the peace. Factional fighting renewed, reaching new heights as foreign supplies of arms increased. In February the Cuban government warned the Eastern Bloc the Alvor Agreement would not succeed. By spring the African National Congress and SWAPO were echoing Cuba's warning.

Leaders of the Organization of African Unity organized a peace conference moderated by Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta with the three leaders in Nakuru, Kenya in June. The Angolan leaders issued the Nakuru Declaration on June 21, agreeing to abide by the provisions of the Alvor Agreement while acknowledging a mutual lack of trust led to violence. Many analysts have criticized the transitional government in Portugal for the violence that followed the Alvor Agreement in terms of a lack of concern about internal Angolan security and favoritism towards the MPLA. High Commissioner Coutinho, one of the seven leaders of the National Salvation Junta, openly distributed ex-Portuguese arms and military equipment to MPLA forces at the expense of the other competing parties.

Admiral Coutinho, centre, with Agostinho Neto of the MPLA, left, and Joans Savimbi of UNITA, right.

Edward Mulcahy, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the US State Department, told Tom Killoran, the U.S. Consul General in Angola, to congratulate the PMC rather than the FNLA and UNITA on their own and Coutinho for Portugal's "untiring and protracted efforts" at a peace agreement. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger considered any government involving the pro-Soviet, Communist MPLA, to be unacceptable and President Gerald Ford oversaw heightened aid to the FNLA

In July the MPLA violently forced the FNLA out of Luanda and UNITA  withdrew to its stronghold in the south and declared war. By August the MPLA had control of 11 of the 15 provincial capitals, including Cabina and Luanda. South Africa intervened on October 23, sending 1,500 to 2,000 troops from Namibia into southern Angola.

No comments:

Post a Comment