Unless continued vigilance focused the world's attention on sanctions violations, the leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), Jonas Savimbi, would soon find willing, cut-rate suppliers who would "re-emerge from under the rocks once the spotlight shifted elsewhere", the Security Council was told today.
Presenting the final report of the Panel of Experts charged with investigating violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA, Robert R. Fowler (Canada), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning Angola, said that the Panel's 39 recommendations were realistic and achievable. Among the most challenging would be those that would have sanctions applied against leaders and governments found to have been deliberately and methodically violating the sanctions. Violations had not been limited to any particular region. The Panel had amassed a very large body of information from a large variety of sources. The report “named names”, he said, in a few instances at the highest level, which had made everyone nervous.
The representative of the United Kingdom said it was no good to vote for sanctions against UNITA and then take no action while citizens of Member countries "made money out of misery". Among those "named and shamed" by the report were some African government ministers and public officials; arms dealers from Eastern Europe; and air companies and fuel suppliers. The report's recommendations must be followed by decisive action in the Sanctions Committee, in the Security Council, and in the States concerned.
The representative of Namibia said it was imperative for the Council to apply sanctions to those leaders and governments that had sustained UNITA's political and war machinery in violation of relevant resolutions. Such a bold and unprecedented action would enhance the Council's authority and demonstrate its seriousness in maintaining international peace and security.
The Government of Angola fully supported the recommendations of the Panel, the representative of that country said. He expected them to be included in the upcoming resolution on Angola. Attributing a mandatory character to the recommendations would once again underscore the important role that the international community should play in the peace process in the country. He added that a climate of relative peace was taking hold in the country, there was more stability in the economic and financial fields, and the authority of the central Government was being extended to the areas formerly under the illegal occupation of UNITA.
Several other speakers said that the information contained in the report deserved close scrutiny, as there were some questions regarding dates and sources. The representative of France said that the report was vague on some issues and particular States needed an opportunity to respond to allegations against them. The Council should consider both the accusations and the explanations by governments.
Stressing the sensitive nature of some of the report's provisions, the representative of Tunisia said that such information should be handled very carefully. His delegation would have preferred avoiding accusing some partners, at least at the current stage. First, it was necessary to make sure that all accusations were absolutely true.
Several countries mentioned in the report also made statements. Most stated that the accusations against them were based on unverified evidence. Also, they objected to the fact that some information had been leaked to the press before the report was issued, which had caused undue embarrassment to their countries.
The representative of Rwanda denied the "wild" allegations that Rwanda had provided military cooperation, arranged diamond sales and facilitated meetings with weapons brokers. Those allegations had no foundation and were merely hearsay from “quarters that distorted facts for reasons known to themselves”, he said. The report was misleading, confusing and contradictory, due to “poor sources of information and useless details”. It was also clear that, contrary to the Panel's mandate to “investigate reports”, it did not take provided clarifications as evidence.
Also objecting to “the insinuations”, the representative of Uganda challenged the Panel to produce evidence of its allegations and said that his Government would welcome any follow-up visits from the Panel to erase the suspicion of collaboration between Uganda and UNITA.
The representative of Bulgaria proposed that the Chairman of an investigative body should bear primary responsibility for the content of a report and for any unauthorized leakage. Documents should be given to the interested States mentioned in that document at the time it was given to the Secretariat for translation and distribution, he said.
Also speaking in today's debate were the representatives of Ukraine, Malaysia, United States (on behalf of the three Observer States for Angola), Argentina, Russian Federation, Netherlands, Jamaica, China, Mali, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Togo, South Africa, Zambia, Morocco, Belarus and Belgium. Mr. Fowler also responded to comments and questions from the floor.
The Council's meeting started at 10:35 a.m. and was adjourned at 5:29 p.m. It was suspended from 1:20 to 3:43 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to hold an open briefing on the sanctions concerning Angola. It had before it the final report of the Panel of Experts on Violations of Security Council Sanctions against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) which covers violations of sanctions and contains recommendations to make the sanctions more effective.
The sanctions at issue prohibit the sale or delivery of arms and military equipment to UNITA; prohibit the provision of petroleum products to UNITA; prohibit the purchase of diamonds mined in areas controlled by UNITA; require the seizing of bank accounts and other financial assets of UNITA; and mandate the closing of UNITA representation offices abroad, as well as restrictions on the travel of senior UNITA officials and adult members of their immediate families.
According to the report, Panel members visited nearly 30 countries, meeting, among others, with government officials, police and intelligence sources, commercial companies and journalists. In January 2000, the Chairman of the Panel, Robert R. Fowler (Canada), together with the Vice-Chairman and Rapporteur of the Panel, interviewed a number of key defectors from UNITA in Angola.
The report states that the active efforts of Mr. Fowler, together with recent actions taken by governments and efforts by non-governmental organizations and others have already made it harder for UNITA to sell its diamonds, and more expensive for UNITA to acquire arms and military equipment as a result of the increased risks of exposure to its suppliers and transporters. However, unless the Security Council and the international community remain engaged in the effort, there is a very real risk that UNITA and its partners will go back to doing business as usual.
Regarding arms and military equipment, the report concludes that, in addition to arms and equipment captured in battle, UNITA was able to import large quantities of arms and military equipment as a result of four key factors. First has been the willingness of certain countries in Africa to provide their end-user certificates to UNITA and to facilitate the passage of arms and military equipment through their territory -- most notably Zaire under President Mobutu Sese Seko, Togo, and Burkina Faso. Second has been the willingness of some arms supplying countries -- most notably Bulgaria -- to sell weapons officially or unofficially. Third has been the eagerness of international arms brokers and air transport carriers to act as intermediaries between UNITA and suppliers. A fourth factor has been the capacity of UNITA to continue to pay for what it wants.
On this subject, the report recommends, among other things, that the Security Council should apply sanctions against leaders and governments found to have been deliberately breaking the sanctions relating to the supply of arms and military equipment to UNITA, that governments agree to register, license and monitor the activities of arms brokers, and that information collected through this exercise be stored in national databases and be made available to other governments. All arms transfers by governments should provide for the mandatory authentication and reconciliation of all end-user certificates, as well as verification of stated undertakings contained in those certificates.
Regarding petroleum and petroleum-related products, the Panel concludes that a number of former and current heads of State in Africa helped UNITA circumvent Council sanctions against the provision of petroleum products. Those implicated include: the former President of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko; the former President of the Republic of Congo, Pascal Lissouba; the former Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, General Joachim Yhombi Opango; and the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore.
The report recommends, among other things, that fuel stocks and movements should be closely monitored in the border areas of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, to a lesser extent, Namibia, adjacent to UNITA- controlled areas.
On the subject of diamonds, the report concludes that UNITA's ability to sell its diamonds is based on its access to diamond-rich territories, on its easy and protected access to external locations where diamond deals can be transacted, and on the ease with which illegal diamonds can be sold and traded on major diamond markets, particularly in Antwerp. Authorities at the highest levels in Burkina Faso and Rwanda have facilitated meetings between UNITA and diamond dealers from Antwerp. South Africa was also a place where transactions occurred, but such activities were not conducted with the support or participation of the Government of South Africa.
The report notes the apparent inability or unwillingness of the responsible authorities in Belgium to police effectively the smuggling of illegal Angolan diamonds onto the Antwerp diamond market. Lax controls within Angola have also facilitated diamond smuggling in that country.
The report recommends that forfeiture should be provided for where the legal origin of rough diamonds cannot be established by the possessor; that Member States of the United Nations should apply sanctions against individuals and enterprises intentionally breaking United Nations sanctions relating to UNITA diamonds; and that practical measures should be devised by the responsible government and industry authorities to limit UNITA's access to legitimate diamond markets. It further recommends that dealing in undeclared rough diamonds be declared a criminal offence in countries hosting important diamond marketing centres.
As far as UNITA finances and assets are concerned, the report concludes that the bulk of UNITA's assets are retained in the form of rough diamonds, which are packaged and sold as needed. Nonetheless, a network of banks, financial institutions and money managers continue to be connected with UNITA and its representatives and suppliers. According to the report, President Eyademo of Togo and deposed President Bedie of Côte d'Ivoire aided UNITA in trying to circumvent the sanctions on financial assets imposed by the Council. The report specifically notes the apparent absence of any action by Morocco to track down or freeze UNITA assets that had been transferred to that country with the knowledge of Moroccan officials prior to the imposition of financial sanctions by the Council.
The report recommends that Member States should be encouraged to make provision for the forfeiture of UNITA-controlled assets whose provenance cannot be traced to a lawful source, and that a substantial bounty or "finders' fee percentage" could be given to any institution, non-governmental organization or individual that traces, tracks down and identifies UNITA assets that are subject to sanction.
With respect to UNITA representation abroad, the report concludes that while UNITA no longer operates formal "Embassies", Burkina Faso, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia and Rwanda provided actual support and protection for UNITA representatives and easy access for senior UNITA officials wishing to travel there. In the United States, France, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and South Africa, among others, UNITA is able to maintain an "unofficial" representative presence with the knowledge, but without the direct support, of the host government.
The report concludes further that a number of countries have disregarded the Council's ban on travel by senior UNITA officials and members of their immediate families. The worst offenders were identified as Burkina Faso, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire, while Rwanda, Zambia and South Africa were also found to have lax or selective enforcement. A number of countries -- Belgium, France and Portugal in particular -- were either unable for legal reasons or unwilling to prevent senior UNITA officials and/or adult members of their immediate families from residing in or transiting their territories.
In this regard, the report recommends that the Council apply sanctions against governments found to have been intentionally breaking the sanctions relating to UNITA representation and travel abroad. The report recommends further that the status of senior UNITA officials and representatives residing abroad should be re-examined by the countries concerned, with a view towards the immediate expulsion of those persons found still to be actively engaged in UNITA's military or political affairs.
In related matters, such as the role of transport in sanctions busting and the shooting down of two United Nations aircraft, the report recommends that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) consider the introduction of mobile radar systems for the purpose of detecting illegal flight activities across national borders and that the SADC give consideration to the establishment of an air traffic regime for the control of regional air space, rather than on a per country basis. The report further recommends that Member States geographically close to Angola should take immediate steps to enforce, strengthen or enact legislation making it a criminal offence to violate sanctions imposed by the Security Council against UNITA.
The report also recommends that the Council apply appropriate sanctions against governments found to have been intentionally breaking the sanction.
The report expresses the Panel's hope that the Council will now seize this opportunity to demonstrate that international sanction can be made to work effectively, and that Member States and others will be held accountable to the international community for their actions. That message would be heard not just in Angola, but in many other current and potential areas of conflict, as well, the report states. Statements
ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning Angola, in introducing the report of the Panel of Experts, said that the underlying objective of the sanctions was to foster a durable political settlement to the civil war in Angola by curtailing UNITA’s ability to pursue its objectives by military means. “This report will, if acted upon, have a real and substantial impact on UNITA’s ability to wage war -– by reducing its revenues, increasing its costs and choking off its supply”, he said. If, that is, the Council acts on it with the same clear-eyed sense of purpose that informed the work of the Panel.
The Security Council had repeatedly declared UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, to be the principal cause of the resumption of the Angolan civil war. More than a million Angolans had lost their lives during 30 years of war, and five out of six Angolans alive today had never known peace, nor experienced what virtually everyone in the room understood to be a normal existence. There was not a building or institution in Angola that had not been damaged by the war. The horror in Angola was far worse than the statistics indicated. The Council must respond forcefully and finally make a difference. The report offered a clear design for doing so.
He said that Security Council sanctions against UNITA had not worked well. A culture of impunity existed regarding the violation of sanctions, as well as a massive failure even to communicate the activities covered by sanctions and an imperfect understanding of what they were intended to achieve. Mr. Savimbi, however, did understand both the scope and purpose of the sanctions, and he had taken methodical action to neutralize their impact by setting up overlapping supply systems and by purchasing friends and facilitators in a number of countries and within the international arms bazaar, the diamond market and among rogue air services.
The report named names, he continued, in a few instances at the highest level, which had made everyone nervous because “it’s not done”. African leaders, however, at the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Summit meeting in Algiers last July, set a new standard for acceptable behaviour, designed to ensure that the African renaissance took root and flourished. Without such a brave and unequivocal signal, such findings would perhaps not have been possible. He saluted the OAU for setting the stage for such a report.
Sanctions busting had not been limited to any particular region, he said. Panel members had visited almost 30 countries over a six-month period and had amassed a very large body of information from a very wide variety of sources. As a result of the Panel’s unwillingness to use information that had not been corroborated, the information in the report was less detailed than would have been the case had a less rigorous standard been applied. The Panel offered 39 recommendations, all of which, he said, were realistic and achievable. Among the most challenging for the Council, he suspected, would be those that would have sanctions applied against leaders and governments found to have been deliberately and methodically violating the sanctions against UNITA.
He said that it was clear that sanctions were beginning to be taken much more seriously and that they were beginning to work. But, unless continued vigilance focused the world’s attention on the matter, Mr. Savimbi would soon find willing, cut-rate suppliers who would re-emerge from under the rocks once the spotlight shifted elsewhere.
There had been welcome developments across the spectrum of the sanctions regime, among which was recent information regarding measures undertaken by the Belgian Government, including initiating research on techniques to identify the origin of rough diamonds, he said. In addition, several governments were investigating suspected sanctions-busters with the objective of criminal prosecution.
The fundamental lesson the Panel had drawn was that continued vigilance was required if UNITA was to be deprived of its military capability, he said. More than once, Mr. Savimbi had used every second of “peace” to prepare for the next phase of war. In his discussions with the diplomatic community in Luanda, he had been struck by the utter absence of enthusiasm for further periods of phony peace or yet another round of sham negotiations. There seemed to be a widespread belief that, until UNITA was denied the ability to pursue its objectives through military means, the people of Angola would never know peace.
PETER HAIN, Minister for State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that the suffering of the people of Angola was only briefly punctuated by false dawns of hope provided by ultimately unsuccessful peace accords. The international community should not allow the misery to continue, and the time had come for it to face up to its obligations. It was no good to put hands up at the United Nations for sanctions against UNITA and then take no action while citizens of Member countries made money out of misery. That was hypocrisy. All the countries must rigorously implement and enforce sanctions. That was why the report of the Expert Panel was so vital.
The United Kingdom had worked closely with Ambassador Fowler and fully supported his work, he continued. The report named and shamed some of those illegally supplying UNITA. Among them were some African government ministers and public officials; many arms dealers from Eastern Europe; air companies; and fuel suppliers who were making money out of a war that had been “privatized and was, therefore, less amenable to conventional diplomatic pressure”.
The full force of law must be brought to bear on those responsible, he said. Britain had frozen several of Savimbi’s accounts and passed the names of some alleged sanctions busters to the Angola Sanctions Committee. Should any British citizens be implicated in that respect, the Government would act against them. It was necessary to cut off Savimbi’s means to wage war. The private sector also had a role to play. Diamond traders should back their commitment with a written guarantee on all invoices that their diamonds were not fuelling wars.
The Belgian Government and industry were now coming up with proposals on conflict diamonds, he continued. He hoped that other trading centres would follow suit. He was sure that the Israeli Government would want to do the same in the case of Tel Aviv. It was encouraging that southern African diamond- producing nations, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association and the Diamond High Council in Antwerp were looking at the problem of conflict diamonds. The Angolan Government had had significant successes against Savimbi’s war machine, he said. However, military action alone would not end the conflict. Only a political solution would bring lasting peace. There would have to be negotiated settlement. As Savimbi’s word could not be trusted, he urged UNITA to replace him as a leader. With him out of the way, with a different leadership, UNITA could be as much part of the solution as it had been part of the problem. Angola desperately needed to use its wealth on building its skills base, as well as on social projects, public services and infrastructure. To win full backing from the international community, the Angolan Government needed to ensure full transparency and accountability, particularly in the oil account. It also needed to ensure full respect for human rights and freedom of speech. All sections of civil society should be involved in that task.
In conclusion, he said that the report made clear recommendations that public censure must be followed by decisive action in the Sanctions Committee, in the Security Council, and in the States concerned. The Council had a duty to act on the report. He was looking forward to a series of mandatory United Nations resolutions to implement the report’s recommendations.
VOLODYMYR YU. YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that the report provided an undeniable evidence that the United Nations was returning to Angola willing to make a tangible contribution towards restoring peace and security in that part of the world. Strengthening the effectiveness of the measures imposed by the Security Council was a fundamental prerequisite to achieving the ultimate goal of putting a stop to the long-lasting suffering of the Angolan people.
He said that during the last 12 months his country had been an object of unsubstantiated allegations in some media implicating it in the violation of sanctions imposed by the Council against UNITA. His Government had been seriously concerned by the emergence of such erroneous allegations and had not only denied them as absolutely groundless, but had also provided reliable evidence that Ukraine had been fully in compliance with international law and norms relating to the enforcement of sanctions against UNITA. The Panel had turned up no evidence that his country had sold arms or otherwise provided military assistance to UNITA.
The task of stemming the illicit flow of arms into Angola had to be addressed by all major arms producers and suppliers rather than be tackled only by a group of Eastern European countries. It was important to hear views on the report from the wider membership of the United Nations and to take them into account before proceeding to draft a further decision.
YVES DOUTRIAUX (France) said that the people of Angola had been suffering too long. Today, the report of the Panel of Experts was addressing that problem. It highlighted an enormous range of actors in violation of the sanctions against UNITA and the information related to a number of regions. The report described quite a complex reality, describing how UNITA continued military activities both inside Angola and outside the country with the help of its supporters, which exacerbated the regional instability.
Sanctions busting had evolved over time, he continued. The information contained in the report deserved close scrutiny. Efforts made by the Government of Angola, as well as the international community, were beginning to have an effect on the situation, and it was necessary to analyse the actual steps taken. The Council must consider the information provided and the recommendations of the experts. In that respect, there was a question of dates, for in some cases the experts were vague about the timing of particular events. In other cases, the sources were not quite clear.
The question regarding UNITA’s representation abroad should also be further investigated, he said. There was also no overall estimate of UNITA’s revenue from the diamond and fuel trade. Even a rough estimate would be useful to evaluate the importance of various elements of the networks providing UNITA with its supplies. A lot of information was provided by the report in that respect as far as the trade in Antwerp was concerned, but other markets also needed to be highlighted.
Actions of governments should be distinguished from those of individuals, he said. Some allegations had been made against particular States, and they needed an opportunity to respond to them. His delegation wanted the Council to consider closely the accusations, the explanations and the views of the States concerned. The Council must take action on the basis of conclusions by the Sanctions Committee, which should consider such information. The Panel of Experts had made a real effort, and France supported it. The Council now must closely consider the information and draw its own conclusions to make UNITA fulfil its obligations.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that UNITA's supply routes must be effectively blocked if the Council was serious about its objective to frustrate the group's war efforts. It had spent millions of dollars for its fuel, munitions, and weapons supplies, which were often transported by planes with international and regional connections that went through neighbouring African countries, frequently with the assistance of corrupt officials. Therefore, the international community and the Council must enforce the sanctions more vigorously, and the countries and companies concerned must cooperate fully to stop breaches of the sanctions.
He welcomed the decision of Angola to revamp and restructure all aspects of diamond mining and the diamond trading industry in that country, as well as the steps being taken by Luanda to enforce the sanctions, including introducing new standardized certificates of origin to prevent forgeries and keep track of diamonds. The responsible governments and industry authorities should be invited to work with the Sanctions Committee to devise practical measures to hinder UNITA's access to legitimate diamond markets. However, an international solution to the Angolan problem must not be allowed to adversely affect the global diamond industry, he added.
He said that, although it was possible that UNITA had enough wealth and resources to continue its activities for many years, the options for action contained in the report could be implemented. Diamonds were UNITA’s lifeline and main source of income, and its access to that industry must be prevented. Also, the group's assets must be tracked down and its bank accounts frozen. To that end, the international banking community must fully cooperate with the Council. In addition, the idea to assemble the foreign supplier of arms to Angola and other parts of Africa would be effective for formulating proposals on how to stem their illicit flow. The Council should also carefully examine the legal options for targetting individuals who profitted from the prolongation of the war in Angola.
JAMES B.CUNNINGHAM (United States) said that the work of the Panel had enhanced the role of the international community in the search for lasting peace in Angola. It had also focused new attention on the link between the illegal exploitation of Angola’s natural resources and the continuation of its conflict. Sanctions remained a key tool in the international community’s efforts on behalf of peace in Angola.
He said that the Panel had highlighted –- in dark and dramatic fashion -– a systematic pattern of violations by the UNITA leadership and with the collusion of foreign actors. The overall impact of sanctions had been beneficial to the search for peace, but the key elements of the report were its recommendations for future action. His Government would work with the Council and others to turn the highly informative document into a reinvigorated plan of action.
The international community’s expectation of UNITA was its full demilitarization, the full extension of state administration, and its full participation in the democratic political life of the country, he said. The Council’s sanctions must remain in effect until all elements of UNITA had taken full, irreversible and verifiable steps to completely implement the Lusaka Protocol, he said.
OSWALDO NARCISO MARSICO (Argentina) said his country supported the efforts to resolve the crisis in Angola and had participated in them. The abundance of natural resources had played a role in perpetuating the problem, and the strategic value of diamonds had been internationally recognized. The report raised many issues that went beyond identifying violations or attributing blame. It was necessary to consider further steps to avoid a repetition of the situation in the future. It was necessary to seriously consider a more effective mechanism for sanctions regimes. The international community had invested considerable sums for the implementation of sanctions in Angola. A more effective monitoring of the regime would have been beneficial.
The Panel was presenting the Council with 39 recommendations and a set of conclusions, which needed to be studied closely, he continued. The information had already caused significant repercussions, and a number of governments had started their own investigations. The report should serve to remind the international community of everything that needed to be done in respect to other sanctions commissions. In 1994, Human Rights Watch had issued a lengthy report on the violations of sanctions for Angola, which had anticipated some of the conclusions of the Panel. He hoped that the international community was now better prepared to take action on the conclusions and that further reports would not find the international community unprepared.
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said it was clear that enhancing the effectiveness of sanctions offered opportunities for peace in Angola. There was a direct link between violations of those sanctions and the continuing threat to security in the region. Careful analysis of the information and the recommendations was necessary, both in the Council and in the member’s national capitals. He said that the report confirmed the need for the Sanctions Committee to continue working hard and to do more. Very serious attention had to be paid to recommendations on stepping up the efforts of the Committee and monitoring of the sanctions. He expressed his readiness to work closely and effectively with the Chairman and members of the Council to further the report’s recommendations.
ALPHONS HAMER (Netherlands) said that the Panel’s effort was an achievement in itself. The report would send a strong signal that the Council was serious about enforcing the sanctions. It would make it harder for UNITA to sell diamonds and otherwise breach the sanctions. A sustained follow-up was needed, as well as a mechanism for more sustained monitoring of sanctions. The recommendations deserved serious study.
At this stage, it was clear that the diamond trade was at the core of the sanctions busting, he continued. It was necessary to establish the origin of the rough diamonds, for without certification it was impossible to conduct legal trade. It was also necessary to determine how conflicts were fueled by the illegal exploitation of vast natural resources, as was the case in several countries. The report also touched on a number of questions regarding arms trade, and the information it provided could feed discussions in other relevant forums. It was necessary to intensify the dialogue with exporters of military equipment and to discuss the issue of the embargo on military equipment in regional organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the SADC. The culture of impunity must be overcome.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that the purpose of the sanctions was not to punish UNITA, but to require UNITA to comply with obligations it had undertaken in 1993 and to limit its possibilities to pursue its goals by military means. The Panel’s existence had already stimulated governments into focusing on possible measures. A strong signal had to be sent that breaches of the Council’s sanctions could not be tolerated and that those violations could not go unpunished.
It was important that those cited in the report cooperate with the Council in finding solutions. The report also had implications on the wider international community. There had been serious violations of the sanctions regime. Those who had violated the sanctions shared in the human suffering in the region. The governments of countries whose nationals were implicated in sanctions busting should prosecute them. The international community must bring an end to the flow of illegal arms into combat situations. The plundering of Africa’s mineral resources to purchase arms must also be brought to a halt.
SELMA ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI (Namibia) expressed her strong support for the work undertaken by the Panel and for its very informative report. She said the Council had often reaffirmed the need for UNITA to comply with its obligations. Contrary to such calls by the international community, UNITA had become stronger, day by day. The Council should take seriously the report and recommendations of the Panel. Implementing existing resolutions could help bring lasting peace. As the Panel's report indicated, the objective had been to promote a political settlement by requesting UNITA to comply with the 1991 Peace Accord and the 1994 Lusaka Agreement. Full implementation of Security Council resolution 1237 would do just that.
The situation had worsened, she said, as UNITA had continued its indiscriminate killing of innocent people and the laying of landmines. The UNITA must comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Agreement. The OAU, itself, had adopted various resolutions on Angola, which should also be considered, and the SADC had declared Mr. Savimbi a war criminal. The willingness of arms supplying countries had contributed immensely in boosting UNITA's ability to fight. Peace lay in the hands of those individuals and governments intentionally assisting UNITA's war machinery. While she concurred with the evidence employed by the Panel, important links might have been omitted. That underscored the importance of ongoing investigations.
She said that the war could have ended and been removed from the Council's agenda had it not been for the support UNITA received from within and outside Africa. It was imperative, therefore, that the Council applied sanctions to those leaders and governments that had sustained UNITA's political and war machinery in violation of its resolutions. Such a bold and unprecedented action would enhance the Council's authority and demonstrate its seriousness in maintaining international peace and security. The conclusions relating to arms and military equipment had proved that UNITA's capacity to pay had fuelled the war. Conclusions relating to petroleum had been commendable, but regrettably, they had not included all of the countries implicated in those activities.
The extremely lax regulations governing the world's rough diamond market in Antwerp, Belgium, she said, had encouraged illegal trading and provided a main source of funding for the rebel movements in Africa, particularly in Angola and Sierra Leone. Namibia had not been an official channel of UNITA's illegal diamond transactions, and at no time had it received diamonds originating from Angola. As a result of its investigations, it had been discovered that diamonds from Namibian mines had wound up in diamond markets in London, as Namibian diamonds had special codes attached to them, making it easy to control smuggling. The private sector had a role to play, and measures taken by De Beers to stop buying diamonds from UNITA had been welcome. The Angolan Government should also be commended for the reform measures it had taken to restructure the mining and diamond industry. The Panel's six recommendations relating to diamonds also had her support.
With regard to UNITA's finances, it was important to identify countries where UNITA representatives had control of financial resources. Indeed, the Panel should provide information on particular bank accounts and credit cards used to facilitate UNITA's transactions. Hopefully, bank secrecy laws would be revised to enable States to uncover illegal funds, with a view to freezing them and then releasing them to the authorities for the benefit of the Angolans. Concerning UNITA's travel abroad, her Government had undertaken an investigation and discovered that none of the names provided by the Panel were residing in Namibia. She regretted her Government's failure to communicate its findings to the Panel in time. Its further investigations in that respect were continuing. Meanwhile, she supported the relevant recommendations of the Panel. Also welcome were related recommendations, especially those inviting SADC to consider introducing a mobile radar system with the assistance of the international community.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that his country was concerned over the lack of progress in the peace process in Angola as a result of Mr.Savimbi’s refusal to comply with the United Nations resolutions. The UNITA had constantly made provocations and even attacked United Nations personnel. It deserved the sanctions imposed against it by the Security Council. Recently, the international community had been able to achieve an even greater consensus on the sanctions regime against UNITA. However, UNITA was using all possible means to breach the sanctions. No country, company or individual should be allowed to collaborate with it. He appealed to all relevant players to abide by the relevant resolutions and to take effective measures to prevent violations of sanctions.
The report before the Council was highly informative, he continued. Measures had to be taken to strengthen the sanctions regime. The recommendations of the Panel covered many areas and involved complex issues. For that reason, they should be studied very carefully. The Council must take timely and effective measures on the basis of the recommendations submitted to it. A practical political solution should be found, and various actions should be coordinated to force UNITA to cease hostilities and seek national reconciliation.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said his country deplored the suffering of the Angolan people. For the international community, the time had come to put an end to that suffering, which was caused by the continuous military strategy of UNITA. The report proposed forceful measures aimed at ending the supplies that UNITA could afford, because of its control of diamonds.
He said that UNITA had been able to escape the impact of sanctions, thanks to a web that had enabled it to maintain its military strength in the field. But, it had also been established that sanctions had begun to bear fruit. The difficulties UNITA was experiencing in getting field supplies resulted from the beneficial effects of the sanctions. Applications of sanctions against UNITA had to be further strengthened. The international community had to support the neighbouring nations of Angola, to help sustain them.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) welcomed the report, which was the fruit of six months of investigations, inquiries and studies by the Panel of Experts undertaken to keep the Council informed about sanctions violations. Tunisia had supported the imposition of sanctions against UNITA in the belief that they would help the international community to find a settlement to the conflict by preventing UNITA from having what it needed to continue its activities.
Welcoming the conclusions of the Panel, he said that the steps to be taken included the implementation of stricter mechanisms aimed at ending UNITA's illicit arms trade and diamond smuggling. The report also contained recommendations with regard to UNITA's representation abroad and the travel of its members. There was no doubt that the recommendations constituted a strong and clear message as to the resolve of the Council to ensure respect for the need to impose peace in Angola. However, he wanted to stress the sensitivity of some of the information, recommendations and conclusions contained in the report.
Sensitive information must be handled very carefully, he said, because it involved, among other things, the naming of heads of State. His delegation would have preferred avoiding giving information accusing some parties, at least at this stage, to make sure first that the accusations were absolutely true. In the absence of irrefutable evidence and of the response of States, he believed that it would be better to proceed gradually, step by step, by first drawing the attention of the States concerned to the situation and the facts. Then it would be possible to decide on possible steps. That would give the necessary status and credibility to the Sanctions Committee, thereby enhancing its ability to act. He hoped that publications of some information in the report would lead to greater awareness on the part of the international community of the need to persevere in efforts to cut off the sources of supplies for UNITA to force it to fulfil its obligations.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), speaking in his national capacity, said that in view of the lateness of the hour, he would forgo the opportunity to make a national statement and defer it to a later stage. He did, however, wish to thank Ambassador Fowler for the determination with which he pursued the matter. He looked forward to examining the recommendations more thoroughly upon returning to the Sanctions Committee. In addition to their inherent merit, he believed the recommendations were important and had serious implications.
JOAO BERNARDO DE MIRANDA, Minister for External Relations of Angola, said that one of the longest conflicts in the history of Africa -- the conflict in his country -- was finally coming to an end. Today’s Council meeting was not intended to search for new peace solutions for Angola, since they already existed and were still valid. The report of the Panel was proof of what his Government had repeatedly said: the re-arming of UNITA’s military wing and the insistence of Mr. Savimbi on the option of war were only possible due to the involvement of some governments and individuals in the busting of sanctions imposed by the Security Council. Some political circles in some capitals attempted to lift the international pressure and wash the image of Mr. Savimbi. Apart from violating the spirit and the letter of the resolutions on sanctions, such actions were an unequivocal encouragement of terrorism in Angola.
By financing and supporting the war effort, the violators became co- authors of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Mr. Savimbi, he continued. The suggestions contained in the report aimed to contribute to the establishment of peace in Angola and to put an end to the insecurity in the world. The situation in Angola was now comparable to a natural disaster, with over 3 million people displaced and an unprecedented number of deaths. Appeals to the conscience of Mr. Savimbi and his supporters no longer sufficed. It was imperative that the Council took decisive action and named the culprit of crimes against humanity in Angola -- Jonas Savimbi -- whom the OAU, SADC and the Non- Aligned Movement had already called a war criminal.
The Government of Angola fully supported the recommendations contained in the report, he said, as they were a step in the right direction. He expected that those recommendations would be included in the upcoming resolution on Angola. The attribution of a mandatory character to the recommendations would once again underscore the important role that the international community should play in the search for lasting peace in the country. It was necessary to increase the international pressure for greater isolation of Mr. Savimbi and the direct attribution of responsibility for crimes against humanity to him.. It was also necessary to reinforce the sanctions against UNITA’s war wing and ensure the effective implementation of all relevant resolutions. Proper operation of the sanctions committee was also needed.
Despite the efforts by the Government of Angola, the country still had “some way to go” before it achieved total stability, he said. However, a climate of relative peace was taking hold in the country. There was more stability in the economic and financial fields, and the authority of the central Government was being extended to the areas formerly under the illegal occupation of Mr. Savimbi. Displaced and refugee populations were beginning to return to their places of origin. Thousands of Savimbi’s followers were now laying down their arms to become part of society. The Government now intended to impart greater consistency to the new situation of increased stability on the basis of the continuity of its process of democratic consolidation. The possibility of the second general election was being considered in 2001, with the participation of all Angolan political forces.
The meeting suspended at 1:20 p.m.
When the Council resumed at 3:40 p.m., MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said his delegation had been able to read the report only yesterday evening and his Government was concerned at the extreme media coverage even before the report had been issued. The role of his country in the relations with UNITA had been misrepresented in the report. The report created an impression that the authorities of Burkina Faso had refused to cooperate with the Panel. That looked like a deliberate misrepresentation.
The accusations against his country were based on the results of the Panel’s investigations, some of which, in turn, were based on allegations from the defectors from Savimbi, he continued. Those could only be biased and less than correct. For the sake of the credibility of the United Nations, the report must be strictly based on facts secured through an impartial and transparent procedure. Instead, the report seemed to have been based on illusions. It often lacked dates and was based on questionable information. Little credence could be given to much of the testimony presented in the report. The report also produced an impression of definite partiality. Otherwise, a hasty and exclusive focus on three African countries could hardly been explained.
According to the report, inquiries had also been conducted in Europe and Israel, he said. Only African countries, however, had been singled out. The places of origin of the armaments and equipment, the end-users and beneficiaries should also be addressed. There seemed to be a plain desire to obscure facts and to exculpate some important actors. Experts said they had received first- hand testimony enabling them to name several heads of State. The report itself stated that such evidence should be corroborated by at least two sources. The evidence against the President of Burkina Faso, however, was based on only one source of information, which proved that there was a double standard at work.
The report had not complied with vigorous requirements for objectivity, he continued. The States concerned should have had a chance to respond to the allegations before the report had been issued. He disassociated himself from the conclusions of the Panel, especially those that implied the head of Government of Burkina Faso by name. The Council should address the questions of who benefited from the embargo and who was buying the UNITA diamonds. Those and many other questions should have been explained by the report.
ROLAND Y. KPOTSRA (Togo) said his country wanted peace to return to Angola. He denounced the selective character of the accusations contained in the report. It seemed that it was up to the accused to provide proof of the facts, but the accuser should provide the proof. Also, serious accusations against his country were based on statements made by deserters and defectors from UNITA, such as General Bandua, Colonel Alcides Lucas Kangunga, and Colonel Aristides Kangunga,
He said that the method of gathering information for the report had consisted of a compilation of rumours and hearsay that had been verified by the deserters. How credible could those statements be now that those deserters had been integrated into the Government’s army? he asked. In one of the rare cases where an attempt had been made to verify information from a deserter, it turned out to be without basis. General Bandua said that BM27 rocket launchers from the Ukraine had come through Togo. The report concludes that there was no evidence that the Ukraine had sold them. Why had Togo not been exonerated too? he asked.
Payments were made in the form of diamonds, according to the report, but no dates were given, because it never happened, he continued. Did the supposed changing of hands of diamonds happen before or after acceptance of resolution 1127 on 28 August 1997? Being solicited to deliver petroleum to UNITA did not mean that it happened, but the seed of doubt had been sown.
“Let the Security Council and the Sanctions Committee shoulder their responsibilities and we will shoulder ours”, he said. Togo could not honestly be accused of having violated sanctions. Many countries that had violated sanctions in Angola had been omitted from the report. Also, leaks had been cunningly organized to make the report, with all its accusations, available to the press. That could undermine the credibility of the Security Council. All the energy that was wasted now in accusing and defending could better be used in favour of peace.
JOSEPH W. MUTABOBA (Rwanda) said his Government had just learned the extent of the contents of the Panel's report. The Panel’s mandate had been, among other things, to collect information and investigate reports relating to the violation of Security Council sanctions imposed against UNITA and to identify parties aiding and abetting the violation of those sanctions. In certain paragraphs of the report, the experts had made “wild” allegations against Rwanda, citing his Government as having provided military cooperation, arranged diamond sales and facilitated meetings with weapons brokers.
“The Rwanda Government wishes to state categorically that these allegations have no foundation and are merely hearsay for quarters that distort facts for reasons known to themselves”, he said. The report was generally misleading. It was confusing and contradictory due to “poor sources of information and useless details”. It was also clear that, contrary to its
mandate to “investigate reports”, when the Panel reached its conclusions, it had not taken clarifications provided as evidence. When they visited Rwanda, the experts were given information and explanations which were never mentioned and were apparently left out of the report altogether.
Continuing, he said that there was no military cooperation between UNITA and the Rwandan Government. Merely evacuating troops within Angolan territory did not point to a pact with Jonas Savimbi or any other UNITA officials. There was “absolutely no grain of truth” in the allegation that Rwanda had allowed UNITA to arrange diamond sales in Kigali, he said. The Panel owed the Security Council better explanations about why it was perceived that Rwanda had been cooperating with UNITA. As it was, the report was an “intellectually lazy” collection of stories “patched together” to discredit his country.
“Rwanda formally challenges the Panel to produce concrete evidence of these unfounded and uncalled-for allegations”, he said. The burden of proof fell on the Panel to give evidence that would substantiate those and other allegations to the Security Council. He went on to say that Rwanda believed that the people of Angola had suffered enough and reiterated his country's support of whatever needed to be done to bring about peace in the region.
DUMISANI S.KUMALO (South Africa) welcomed the report of the Panel on Violations of Security Council Sanctions against UNITA. In the coming weeks, his Government would be studying the report with great care. It looked forward to receiving more evidence on the allegations that were contained in the report.
South Africa supported all the United Nations sanctions against UNITA and would continue to work closely with the Organization for the success of those measures in order to secure a peaceful solutions to the conflict in Angola. His Government was aware that some of its citizens had been involved in efforts aimed at undermining the United Nations sanctions. It would take firm action against those involved. South Africa would continue to advocate a political solution in Angola as it remained convinced that there could be no lasting military solution. He urged UNITA to abandon war and embrace peace.
VLADIMIR SOTIROV (Bulgaria) said that his Government was frustrated by the violation of the procedure that allowed concerned countries to view a report before it was given to the media. He hoped that it would not set a precedent for Council activities. To avoid similarly unacceptable situations in the future, he proposed that the chairman of a respective body should bear primary responsibility not only for the content of a report, but also for unauthorized leakage. To assist the chairman in fulfilling that responsibility, documents should be given to the interested States mentioned in that document, in the original language in which it was produced, at the same time or before it was given to the Secretariat for translation and distribution.
Despite speculation in the media, the report did not and could not contain even a single item of concrete evidence linking Bulgaria to a violation of resolution 864 (1993), as well as of internationally recognized standards and norms of arms control regimes, he said. All information presented to the Panel demonstrated that the Bulgarian authorities had acted in strict compliance with the domestic legislation and Security Council resolutions on Angola. States that extended their complete support and assistance to control and monitoring bodies should not be punished by the distortion and misinterpretation of the information they submitted. Such an approach was not only harmful to the effectiveness of the monitoring and implementation of the Security Council resolutions, but also increased the caution with which governments responded to the activities of expert bodies.
The assumption that arms transactions referred to in paragraph 38 of the report were carried out was groundless, he said. The deal had been cancelled when the end-user certificate believed to have been provided by the Ministry of Defence of Zambia was proven false. The equipment mentioned in the report could still be found in the storage premises of the Ministry of Defence in Bulgaria. The approach followed by the Panel raised serious doubts on the credibility of the information sources used in the preparation of the Report. No legal obstacles were seen for the arms supply to Togo, as cited in the paragraph 42 of the report, since that country was not subjected to an arms embargo by either the Security Council or the European Union.
As for the training of Zairian military officers in Bulgaria, he continued, that had taken place on the basis of a bilateral agreement between the two Ministries of Defence in 1996, when no restrictions applied for a military cooperation of that type. Bulgaria categorically rejected any accusations raised or presumed in the report of possible violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA. Bulgaria had been applying the most stringent controls on its foreign arms trade, based on a specific law adopted by Parliament in 1996. Each foreign transaction in arms and dual-use goods and technologies was considered and approved on an individual basis and after meticulous review of the required documents. That legally binding procedure was strictly observed.
PETER L. KASANDA (Zambia) reiterated his Government’s commitment to ensure peace in its region. It would oppose actions that could reinforce conflict in neighbouring countries. His Government would fully cooperate with all efforts by the international community to ensure compliance with the Security Council sanctions against UNITA.
He said that a number of suggestions and recommendations in the report would certainly prove effective in ensuring that sanctions were further tightened in order to completely diminish UNITA’s ability to wage war. Since the report had just come out and his Government had not had a chance to study and consider it fully, his Government would comment on the report at an appropriate time.
ELHASSANE ZAHID (Morocco) said that the report indicated in paragraph 123 that in 1995 Mr. Savimbi had placed, through one of his representative, a large amount on deposit and subsequent payments had been made with the knowledge of some Moroccan officials. That was prior to the activation of sanctions. The Panel noted the apparent absence of any attempt by his Government to freeze those assets. In order to dispel ambiguity and to rectify the situation, he assured the Council that the funds referred to had been fully exhausted before the sanctions took effect. The person involved had long since left the country. He pledged his Government’s support for all endeavours of the international community to restore peace and prosperity to people of Angola, who had suffered terribly.
ALYAKSANDR SYCHOV (Belarus) welcomed the report of the Panel and Ambassador Fowler’s efforts to establish an effective mechanism aimed at putting pressure on UNITA to stabilize the situation in Angola. Mr. Fowler’s initiative to create expert panels for detailed investigation of the sanctions regime against UNITA was a novel step, which would undoubtedly mobilize the efforts of the international community towards strict observance of the sanctions imposed by the Council.
Along with other countries, Belarus had been visited in February this year by Ambassador Mollander, he continued. His Government had given the Ambassador's group a chance to inspect the work of the border and customs authorities, as well as export controls in relation to Angola sanctions. The Government also worked on providing additional answers to the Panel. As the Panel did not set a clear date when such information was to be presented, the Government’s report had been forwarded to the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee as soon as it was prepared by the competent bodies of the country. Mr. Fowler had mentioned that today.
At the same time, he said, Belarus was sorry to see that the report did not reflect the unwavering commitment of Belarus to enforcing the sanctions regimes imposed by the Council, or the fact that the Panel had not discovered any violations. He hoped that subsequent reports would contain relevant information in that respect. Belarus always complied with the decisions of the Council, and its Government intended to continue such cooperation in the future.
ANDRE ADAM (Belgium) said that he regretted the omission of important information in the report, as well as the inclusion of some unfounded information. From the outset, his Government had taken the United Nations sanctions very seriously. No mention was made of the fact that in January 2000 an interdepartmental working group had been set up, which had studied and decided upon several measures in order to improve the control mechanisms on the origin of diamonds. Even before the creation of that "Task Force", the existing controls had already led to the seizure of illegal diamonds.
Also missing was the information that the Diamond High Council, following a pressing demand by his Government, had committed itself to reviewing its procedures. It had decided to create a second working group, including representatives of his Government and the High Council, with the mandate to decide on a work programme and measures to be taken. Also, information had been provided to the Sanctions Committee on Belgians who were operating abroad. That cooperation was not mentioned in the report either, he said.
Therefore, he said, when the report spoke of an “unwillingness on the part of the Belgian authorities effectively to police the smuggling of illegal Angolan diamonds on the Belgian market”, it did not reflect the reality. He requested that the report should take into account the elements he had mentioned. He reiterated his Government's readiness to work in close cooperation with the Sanctions Committee.
MATIA MALUMBA SEMAKULA KIWANUKA (Uganda) said the subject discussed in the Council today was very important for his region. His Government welcomed the report of the Panel and the recommendations contained therein, for they would strengthen the sanctions regime against UNITA. However, he regretted that despite extensive discussions that the Panel of Experts had held with Ugandan officials last month, all the information provided by his Government had been ignored. The Panel, apparently, had remained unconvinced and had gone ahead to reproduce its allegations. He wanted to take today’s opportunity to present before the Council the record of the discussions in his country on 16 February.
The Panel of Experts had visited Uganda, from 14 to 17 February, to investigate allegations of Uganda’s collaboration with UNITA in violation of the sanctions, he said. It had raised a number of questions, and the Government responded to queries regarding alleged arms transfers and export of diamonds from Angola. The Panel also sought information regarding the aircraft operating from Uganda and wanted to verify reports of visits of senior Uganda officials to UNITA-held areas and alleged visits of Mr. Savimbi to Uganda.
The Government of Uganda had provided answers to all the questions, he said. As for arms transfers, those could not be undertaken without authorization from the Office of the Minister of Defence. No such certificates were ever issued for arms to Angola. As for importation of tanks to UNITA, the Government informed the Panel that all the tanks imported into the country, were still in the possession of the Ugandan armed forces. Uganda did not and had never supplied arms to UNITA, directly or otherwise. However, it was not a policy of Uganda to dictate who its partners cooperated with.
Continuing, he said that there was strict control by the customs authorities of Uganda of the goods moving in and out of the country. Customs bonds were executed at the points of entry and total verification was ensured. Records clearly showed that Uganda had neither imported nor exported diamonds or oil products from Angola. As a signatory of the Civil Aviation Convention, Uganda did not violate its provisions. Regarding the alleged operation of aircraft to Angola from Uganda, he said that it was impossible to conduct secret flights from the country without the Government’s knowledge. The Ugandan plane impounded in Zambia had been en route from Uganda to Kenya. If it had been diverted to Lusaka, his Government was not responsible for it.
His Government objected to the insinuations and challenged the Panel to produce evidence of its allegations, he said. Mr. Savimbi had never visited Uganda on the dates mentioned in the report, and Ugandan officials had not visited UNITA in Angola. As for the allegations that UNITA assisted Ugandan armed forces, his Government found it ridiculous that it would depend on a rebel army. Ugandan forces were not holding any territory bordering on UNITA-held territory, and the allegations of collaboration between the two armed forces were unfounded. His Government would welcome any follow-up visits from the Panel to erase the suspicion of collaboration between Uganda and UNITA. His country respected all Security Council resolutions. The Panel was informed that Uganda would submit its findings to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee on Angola. Uganda was committed to peace and security in Africa -- it did not collaborate with UNITA and would not support any measure in breach of Council resolutions.
Mr. FOWLER (Canada), in response to comments and questions, rejected any suggestion that his country was biased in the sanctions administration and stated that no Canadian official had leaked the report. He apologized for any embarrassment the inaccurate leaks had caused.
As to the use of adequate rules of evidence, he said that the Panel had used the highest standards -- higher than in a court of law in most countries in bribery cases. The interviews with defectors had been used to corroborate a huge volume of evidence already gathered. The information provided by Morocco and Belarus during the meeting had been most welcome, he added.
He said that the Panel had done the Council proud in extremely difficult circumstances without fear or favour. The Panel had had no option but to report high-level complicity were it had occurred. The body of evidence demonstrating that sanctions had been violated was massive, and it could have been no surprise to learn how it had done.
As to the questions posed by the representative of France, he said that he would seek more information. Certain sources of information could not be revealed, but others would be. He would ask the Panel to give whatever answers they could to specific questions.
The Panel had been well aware when different sanctions had come into effect, he said. Those timing realities had been carefully reflected in the conclusions and recommendations of the report. Countries accused of sanctions- busting had indeed been approached in advance.
He hoped that the governments who had not cooperated fully in the investigation until now might soon do so. He would guarantee that information reaching him would be forwarded to the Committee.