Global Policy Forum

UN Delegation Meets Official

Panafrican News Agency
October 26, 1999

Cape Town, South Africa - A group of 10 senior UN officials held talks with the South African deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, on efforts to tighten sanctions against Angola's UNITA. Andreas Mollander, who heads the team, said South Africa should take legal measures to tighten sanctions against the rebel movement in an attempt to prevent it from raising cash to fund its war effort. However, he conceded that the UN could not prevent diamonds mined in UNITA-controlled areas from reaching international markets. "We cannot stop UNITA from getting diamonds to markets, but we want to send the right signals that there is a price to pay for those dealing with UNITA," he said.

In early October, De Beers announced an embargo on all Angolan diamonds, except those it bought from the government's Endiama-Ashton joint venture. Most of UNITA's revenue comes from diamond sales.

Mollander has suggested that South African banks were laundering money for UNITA, and the UN is now investigating its financial links, arms and fuel supplies, and diamond exports. The group has also held talks with Swiss bankers, Interpol in Lyon, and Belgian customs officials and diamond dealers in Antwerp.

Pahad, said he is convinced that South African citizens have been involved in supplying arms to UNITA, in defiance of UN sanctions. The UN Security Council has blamed UNITA for the breakdown in December of a 1994 peace accord and the resumption of a bloody civil war against the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Angola, potentially Africa's richest country with vast oil reserves and gem-quality diamond deposits, fell into civil war immediately after independence in 1975. The fighting has left nearly one million people dead and hundreds of thousands near starvation, destroyed the infrastructure and caused wild fluctuations in the price of basic commodities. Fighting has intensified over the past couple of months with government forces last week capturing UNITA's central highlands strongholds of Bailundo and Andulo.

UN Panel of Experts on Angola Sanctions: Fact Sheet

More Information on Angola


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