Mr. Holden Roberto, leader of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) is?
Mr. Holden Roberto, leader of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) is touring Western Europe seeking support for his movement. The FNLA forces were defeated in the Angolan civil war at the beginning of this year by another nationalist group - the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). But Mr. Roberto claimed in Belgium on Friday (29 October) that FNLA forces still held control in some areas of Angola.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Roberto was speaking at a news conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels. He said that the FNLA was being helped by a third liberation group - the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The south-eastern and eastern parts of Angola are under the control of the FNLA and UNITA, Mr. Roberto claimed. The Benguela Railway runs through those areas and is one of the country's important export routes.
Newsmen then heard Mr. Roberto say that East European countries were carrying out a "systematic robbery" in Angola. He claimed that a modern surgery unit was dismantled by Cuban forces. Mr. Roberto said that vehicles and equipment were regularly being stolen.
He also claimed later that in addition to several thousand Cubans, there were also Bulgarian, Czechoslovak, East German and Polish forces helping the MPLA government in Angola. The Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies were "throwing up an Iron Curtain" around the country, he added.
Mr. Roberto then spoke of relations between Angola and other nations of the world. He called the present MPLA government illegal but said that it had still been recognised internationally. He asked why the Angolans did not have the right to self-determination and complete freedom in their choice of government. The present government should be condemned by the rest of the world, he said.
A number of FNLA officials are with the movement's leader for the European tour. They hope to gain support for their campaign. Mr. Roberto said that the FNLA had enough arms to continue their guerrilla war for the present but may need more over the next two years.
The MPLA government has pledged itself to pushing the other liberation forces from Angola. Cuba's Premier, Fidel Castro, said in July this year that his country would begin the withdrawal of its forces from Angola. But he added that Cuban troops would be available as long as they were needed to train Angolan armed forces and help them carry out security operations. Mr. Roberto has said though that his forces, along with those of UNITA, will continue to fight the Cuban-backed MPLA until they have complete control of the country.