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Thursday, August 20, 1998 Published at 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK

World: Africa

US tightens sanctions against Unita

Sanctions aimed at stopping military build-up

The United States has imposed a series of economic sanctions on the Unita movement in Angola to pressure it to comply with a United Nations-brokered peace agreement with the government.

The sanctions ordered by President Clinton include a freeze on Unita's assets in the United States and a ban on the import of Angolan diamonds that are not certified by the Angolan government.

Sales of mining equipment to Angola are also banned.

[ image: Both sides accused of military offensives]
Both sides accused of military offensives
The moves are intended to limit Unita's capacity to pay for its military build-up.

The Angolan government claims that Unita maintains a 30,000-strong residual army.

Mr Clinton wrote in a letter to Congress that the measures would "immediately demonstrate to Unita the seriousness of our concern over its delays in implementing the peace process."

Stalled peace process

Although peace talks between the government and the rebel movement have resumed, the two sides are still accusing each other of violating the peace accord signed in Lusaka in 1994.

State-controlled radio accused Unita of massacring 150 people in a recent attack.

Last week a government spokesman said the peace process was in "profound crisis".

The sanctions imposed by the US will be lifted once Unita "fully complies with its obligations and completes its transition from an armed movement to an unarmed political party," Mr Clinton's letter said.

In June the UN voted to impose financial and trade sanctions on Unita for holding up the reconciliation process.

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