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UN Sanctions Committee Chair Says UNITA Sanctions Tighter Now


Associated Press

January 8, 2000
New York Times

Luanda, Angola (AP) -- The United Nations has made progress in enforcing international sanctions against the rebel group UNITA, the head of the U.N. sanctions committee for Angola said Saturday. The sanctions against UNITA, which has waged a two-decade war against the Angolan government, are more effective now than "at any time in the past," Robert Fowler said in Luanda. Fowler, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, arrived Saturday in the Angolan capital, Luanda, for a weeklong visit aimed at examining ways of tightening the sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms and fuel embargo on UNITA in 1993 in an effort to hinder its ability to wage war. The sanctions were expanded in 1998 to include a ban on the group's diamond exports, estimated to have supplied the rebels with up to $4 billion since 1992.

Fowler, who has launched a campaign to tighten the sanctions, was to gather information to present a report at a special Security Council meeting on Angola later this month. He also was to examine sophisticated new UNITA weaponry captured by the army, and try to establishing its origin. The army said it recently found chemical weapons in a UNITA arms cache in the central highlands, though it declined to give details. UNITA also purchased tanks and long-range artillery from Eastern European countries, including Bulgaria and Ukraine, the army said.

Fowler was scheduled to hold talks with government officials to discuss how to choke off UNITA's international diamond sales. The rebels resumed battles with the government in December 1998, confirming long-held suspicions that the sanctions weren't working. The resumption of fighting shattered a four-year-old U.N.-brokered peace accord designed to end a war, which first erupted after Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

UNITA is a Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.

More Information on Sanctions in Angola


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