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Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 01:21 GMT
UN lifts Unita sanctions
Angola's UN envoy, Gaspar Martins, hears the vote to lift sanctions
The vote reflects the new chapter in Angolan history
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to lift all remaining sanctions on Angola's Unita rebel movement in recognition of the end of the conflict there.

Sanctions imposed since 1993 included bans on illicit diamond mining and sales of arms and fuel oil.


Everybody agreed that war is over

Robert Skinner
spokesman for the United States' UN mission
But nearly three decades of civil war ended earlier this year with the killing of the rebels' leader, Jonas Savimbi, by the army.

The BBC's Mark Doyle says that although the sanctions had only a limited effect in bringing about peace in Angola, their final lifting sends a powerful signal that the country could turn a new page.

In a resolution passed on Monday, the Security Council said that it was committed to preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Angola.

It welcomed steps taken by both the government and Unita to implement a UN-brokered peace agreement dating back to 1994.

"Everybody agreed that war is over, the whole thing has disbanded and it has become a political party," a spokesman for the United States' UN mission, Robert Skinner, said.

The two sides formally made peace on 4 April, about six weeks after Savimbi's death.

Crippled country

The war in the former Portuguese colony left about one million dead, and made about 4 million people homeless and dependent on foreign aid.

It also shattered the economy of a state possessing large oil reserves.

Unita rebels during the civil war
The peace has been holding
During the conflict, Unita sold billions of dollars' worth of diamonds to buy arms, prompting UN sanctions.

In October, the Security Council lifted a ban on foreign travel by the group's leaders.

Since the April ceasefire, many key Unita figures have joined the Angolan army, and the former rebel movement is also taking part in politics.

But our correspondent says that given that the war caused devastation for ordinary people and camouflaged huge corruption in government circles, it is unclear whether the country will be able to exploit the opportunity which peace now provides.

Jonas Savimbi, killed after 26 years of civil war

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23 May 02 | Africa
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