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Angola correspondent Lara Pawson
"The President never once mentioned Unita by name"
 real 28k

Monday, 17 January, 2000, 23:25 GMT
Angola president praises UN sanctions

UN sanctions are aimed at ending the long-running war

Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has hailed the success of United Nations sanctions against the rebel Unita movement.

In his annual speech to members of the diplomatic corps in Luanda, President Dos Santos said friendship, solidarity and understanding had characterised the policies of foreign governments towards Angola.

The BBC correspondent in Angola says the president's speech was very upbeat and reflected his optimism about the outcome of the war with Unita - a sentiment which she says is apparently shared by the international community.

His remarks were also in sharp contrast to those he made a year ago, when he blamed the war on bad diplomatic action.

Diamond embargo

The speech came a day after the head of the UN sanctions committee on Angola, Robert Fowler, said he was convinced that the embargo on the rebels' diamond and arms trade sanctions had decreased the movement's ability to wage war.

Mr Fowler was visiting Angola with a team of experts to examine how to better enforce a 1993 arms and fuel embargo and a 1998 ban on the rebels' diamond exports.

Man with false leg Angola's people live with the legacy of war

He said the government forces' recent success in regaining diamond-mining areas had helped deprive Unita of funding.

"I hope the recent military victories and a tighter application of sanctions hasten the end of the war," he said.

Unita's profit from diamond sales was estimated to be as high as $4bn in the past eight years.

Although Mr Fowler was unable to provide figures, he said the rebels' trade in diamonds had already slipped.

Arms cache

Mr Fowler met President dos Santos, senior cabinet members and the government's top military commander, General Joao de Matos.

He also talked to former rebels who had defected or been captured by government forces.

Mr Fowler visited the rebels' former central highland stronghold of Andulo, which the army captured three months ago, where he examined a Unita arms cache.

He said that 98% of the weapons appeared to have come from Eastern Europe.

Unita - the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola - resumed battles with the government in December 1998, confirming long-held suspicions that the sanctions were not working.

Mr Fowler will report to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, and present a full report by March.

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See also:
11 Jan 00 |  Africa
Unita weapons investigated
08 Jan 00 |  Africa
UN puts pressure on Angola rebels
07 Jan 00 |  Africa
Tensions on Angola-Zambia border
24 Dec 99 |  Africa
Angola claims rebel base
01 Feb 99 |  Angola
Profile: Jonas Savimbi, Unita's local boy
17 Dec 99 |  Africa
Unita is finished, says Angolan army

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