Global Policy Forum

Governments Defy Unita Sanctions


By Lara Pawson

October 30, 2000

A report by the United Nations reveals that several African governments have failed to uphold UN sanctions barring Angola's Unita rebels from acquiring arms and trading in diamonds. An internal report obtained by the BBC says that the governments of Uganda, Rwanda and Burkina Faso have not imposed controls on the movement of diamonds through their territory.

Togo is the only named African country which has issued an executive order banning transactions of Angolan diamonds not covered by a certificate of origin.

The report compiled by a five-member panel of experts says despite the embargo on Unita's diamond trade since 1998, Unita continues to mine and sell diamonds.

Arms sales

It is clear, the report states, that international dealers are still prepared to flout sanctions and buy diamonds from Unita. Although Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania say they have made comprehensive efforts to avoid exporting arms to Unita, adequate verification systems are still lacking in intermediary countries in Africa.

The panel has confronted what the report describes as "very serious discrepancies" in information from arms-exporting and importing countries.

Moreover, regardless of two UN resolutions which prohibit the representation or transit of senior Unita officials, the rebels are still allowed to travel freely in certain countries. Some governments claim never to have received a UN list of designated Unita officials, while others say it is of too poor a quality to be of use.

Unita's military capacity

The panel has until January to develop the spirit of trust and partnership it desperately seeks with relevant governments, institutions and actors. It is also hoping to gain co-operation from the international criminal police organisation, Interpol, to identify Unita's support networks and links to organised crime. The overall aim, says one Western diplomat, is to create an even more targeted approach that will further reduce Unita's capacity to wage war.

More Information on Angola


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