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The BBC's Mark Devenport
"The UN believes the widespread evasion of its embargo against Unita is prolonging the civil war"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
UN warns Unita embargo busters
Unita soldier
Countries helping Unita face greater scrutiny
The UN Security Council has approved a resolution that could lead to sanctions being imposed on countries trading with the Angolan rebel movement, Unita, in violation of an international embargo.

A UN report published last month said Unita had imported weapons from Bulgaria and exported diamonds through Belgium with the help of other African countries - especially Burkina Faso and Togo.

The resolution, approved unanimously, does not specifically threaten sanctions against the embargo busters.

Instead, it calls for a panel of up to five experts to carry out further monitoring over the next six months.

The Security Council will then decide what action to take.


Joans Savimbi
The UN report says Jonas Savimbi's Unita has trading links with African leaders
The UN imposed an arms and fuel embargo on Unita in 1993 in an effort to end a 25-year-old civil war in the former Portuguese colony that has killed about one million people and left another million homeless.

Seven years since sanctions were first implemented, criticisms are still being made about the will of the UN Security Council to ensure the effectiveness of the sanctions.

Delays

The Security Council decision to delay taking action "should not be interpreted as any kind of exoneration of any state named by the panel of experts," said Canadian ambassador Robert Fowler.

Mr Fowler initiated the UN report as chairman of the sanctions committee on Angola.

"The council will not continue to stand idly by while its decisions are flouted," he said during a lengthy debate on the resolution, chaired by the Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy.


President Eyadema
Togo's Eyadema accused
Mr Axworthy told the BBC that the mere possibility of action was already having an effect, with those countries named in the UN report pledging to cooperate in the campaign to isolate the rebels.

Diplomatic isolation

The report by the expert panel had recommended arms embargoes and diplomatic isolation against nations intentionally breaking the sanctions.

The report accused the presidents of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, and Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, of receiving diamonds for helping Jonas Savimbi's Unita with arms and fuel shipments.

Rwanda was also accused of facilitating guns-for-gems deals.

Belgium was cited for "extremely lax controls and regulations" governing the Antwerp diamond market, the world's largest for rough diamonds.

Bulgaria was named as the source for most of the arms sold to the rebels.

The countries implicated have denied the allegations, defended their records and challenged the report's evidence, noting that it relied heavily on information provided by rebel defectors.

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See also:

28 Jan 99 | Angola
Angola's forgotten conflict
16 Jan 00 | Africa
Angola rebels losing power - UN
19 Apr 00 | Africa
Analysis: The Savimbi factor
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