JOHANNESBURG, 10 January (IRIN)
- The head of the UN Sanctions Committee on Angola held "encouraging"
talks with government officials in Luanda on Monday as part of a review
of sanctions against the rebel movement, UNITA.
Robert Fowler met Angolan Foreign Minister Joao de Miranda among other officials in talks one diplomatic source close to the visit described as "terrific".
"The Angolan government understands that we are trying to bring peace to this country and they have gone to considerable lengths to ensure the success of this visit," the source told IRIN.
Fowler, Canada's ambassador to the UN, arrived in Angola on Saturday. His week-long visit provides an opportunity to assess sanctions policy in the light of far more detailed information now available to his team, and to consult with the government. Fowler is due to report to a UN Security Council meeting on Angola on 18 January.
"I do not think there is any doubt that the whole issue of sanctions against UNITA is much better understood today than it was a year or two ago," Fowler told state radio on Saturday. "There is a greater appreciation of the fact that the reputation of individuals and countries, which break sanctions, is going to suffer more now than has ever been the case in the past."
The effectiveness of military and trade sanctions imposed against UNITA is "not unrelated to their current inability to procure supplies," the diplomatic source said. However, he stressed that Angola's conflict cannot be resolved by military means alone and the objective of the embargo is to "get UNITA back to the negotiating table. There has to be a viable political settlement."
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