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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Angola: Updates

Angola: Updates
Date distributed (ymd): 010501
Document reposted by APIC

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at


Africa Action Note to Readers

April 30, 2001

According to an April 29 article in the New York Times, an unnamed senior U.S. Treasury Department official "said Africans lacked a requisite 'concept of time,' implying that they would not benefit from HIV drugs that must be administered on tight time schedules."

The Health GAP Coalition and Africa Action have written a letter of protest to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, demanding that the administration retract and apologize for this ignorant and racist statement, which is particularly inexcusable for an official with a role in deciding U.S. policy on response to HIV/AIDS. For the text of the letter, see

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains excerpts from the latest issue of the Angola Peace Monitor, with a summary of the latest UN report on sanctions against UNITA, supplemented by a brief excerpt from IRIN on UN plans to investigate evasion of financial sanctions. Another recent report, The Oil Diagnostic in Angola, published by Human Rights Watch in March, with particular focus on accountability for the use of oil revenues by the Angolan government, is available at:

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA
Issue no.8, Vol. VII, 25 April 2001

ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, UK;
e-mail; fax +44 20 7837 3001; telephone +44 20 7833 3133;

The Angola Peace Monitor can now be found at, as well as on the ACTSA web site, along with a useful search engine at: A Portuguese translation of the APM can be found at:

[excerpts; full text of Peace Monitor at]

UN sanctions thwarting UNITA lifelines

A major study by the United Nations into the application of sanctions imposed on Jonas Savimbi's rebel movement has warned that UNITA is still very active in conducting guerrilla warfare, attacking civilian targets and killing innocent people. However the study found that the UN's firm commitment to monitoring the sanctions has had a positive effect on thwarting the military lifelines that UNITA requires.

The UN Monitoring Mechanism on Sanctions against UNITA, submitted its study to the Security Council on 18 April
( in the form of an addendum to its report which was issued on 21 December 2000 (see APM no4, vol.VII).

The addendum quotes UN sources in Luanda as revealing that "civilians fleeing UNITA speak of terror by the rebel movement", and that there has been a "significant deterioration in the physical conditions of civilians fleeing UNITA".

The Mechanism's overall assessment is that "sanctions continue to play an important part in efforts to resolve the Angolan conflict. With no fixed arms supply lines and diminishing revenue from diamonds, UNITA's military capacity has been significantly reduced".

The addendum gives further information about arms smuggling to UNITA, and concludes that "the central role played by the identified brokering companies in the procurement of arms by UNITA is overwhelming and cannot be overemphasised." It stresses that, "the need to tighten the regulations governing the activities and operations of arms-brokering companies has become urgent. Similarly, the establishment of an international register of the dubious companies involved in sanctions-busting should be given due consideration".

UNITA representation continues

The Mechanism did not find evidence that any major changes in UNITA structures in Africa have taken place. Burkina Faso and Togo continue to be important countries of residence for senior UNITA officials and their family members. ...

The addendum points out that UNITA has made efforts to take advantage of the changes in the United States Administration since George W Bush became president, and that the UNITA representative in the US Jardo Muekalia met with an official of the Department of Defence. However, it acknowledges that the US authorities consider that the meeting was informal and on a personal basis, and that such unofficial meetings took place under the Clinton administration. ...

UNITA diamond earnings cut by a third

The Mechanism warns that UNITA continues to mine diamonds, and that in the year 2000 UNITA earned at the very least $100 million from illegal diamonds, and states that UNITA's access to diamond mines remains unchanged at present.

The addendum states that "the principal limitation on UNITA's capacity to mine is the control of a large enough workforce, together with the capture of at least part of its mining equipment by FAA [the Angolan army]".

UNITA's income from diamonds did drop dramatically from 1999, when it was estimated to be at least $300 million. However, the Mechanism's findings point out that the drop was due to UNITA's more limited capacity to mine rather than the imposition of sanctions.

The addendum points out that there was an increase in non-UNITA smuggling during 2000, "which clearly means that illicit Angolan diamonds are reaching diamond markets regardless of the certificate of origin system and which also makes the tracing of UNITA diamonds more problematic". It continues that "diamond smuggling from Angola has been estimated to have increased to $250 million in 2000 according to industry sources".

Improvements in official diamond channel

The Mechanism gives details of the official diamond channel in Angola, run by ASCORP since February 2000. It points out that already the system is beginning to win the battle against tax evasion in the industry, with $59.16 million in taxes being paid on $746 million of diamonds bought between February and December 2000, compared with only $21 million being raised on $650 million in 1999.

Under the single channel scheme, ASCORP is the only company allowed to buy Angolan diamonds (except those from Catoca mine), and it now has 23 buying offices. ...

Action against illegal traders

According to the addendum, one of the most difficult questions in diamond control is the flow of diamonds between Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazaville.

The Mechanism found that "whilst there are evident possibilities for laundering both UNITA and non-UNITA illicit diamonds, the Mechanism also learned that most of the better-quality diamonds that are either mined in the DRC or pass through that country from Angola are now smuggled out". Congo-Brazzaville was named as a key destination for illicit diamonds from Angola and the DRC.

South Africa is in the process of implementing new controls as part of the Mineral Development Bill, which it is hoped will be passed into law in June 2002. The South African government informed the Mechanism that an investigation into illicit Angolan diamond imports is underway.

The Mechanism's work on the diamond trade has been hampered by a lack of response from several governments, including Israel, Central African Republic, Zambia, and Mali. Rwanda and Uganda have responded to queries from the Mechanism.

Overall, the Mechanism reaches the conclusion that "UNITA gems will find a market as long as illicit diamonds can be traded and until those involved in this trade are exposed and penalised, thus making UNITA diamonds a less attractive proposition". However, "UN sanctions have provided the impetus for world-wide controls on diamonds - the certificate of origin scheme", but "this scheme is unlikely to reach the implementation stage before the end of 2001". ...

Security Council fails to take action

On 19 April the UN Security Council met to discuss the contents of the Monitoring Mechanism's addendum, but failed to take any action on the recommendations of either the Fowler Report of March 2000 (see APM no.7 vol.VI) nor the Monitoring Mechanism's "Final Report" of December 2000. Instead, it has taken the step of extending the mandate of the Monitoring Mechanism for a further six months.

The Security Council adopted resolution 1348
(, and expressed "its intention to give full consideration to the written addendum and to the final report", but effectively announced another delay in taking any action against those who have supported sanctions busting, particularly those states who stand accused of formally assisting UNITA in its war preparations.

The process of investigating violations of mandatory UN sanctions began on 7 May 1999 when the Security Council adopted resolution 1237, which set out the plan to appoint "Expert Panels". Delays due to bureaucratic procedures, mixed with opposition from some member states, most importantly France, have reduced the effectiveness of the UN in taking concrete steps to implement sanctions, outside the conflict diamonds area.

Meanwhile, President George W Bush on 29 March wrote to the US Congress indicating that he would maintain sanctions against UNITA. This strong signal that the US Administration is not going to change its policy towards Angola will be a blow to UNITA who had hoped that President Bush would be more sympathetic towards them.

UN Secretary General welcomes positive measures

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has welcomed positive measures by the Angolan government to enhance efforts towards peace and reconciliation, but warned that it is imperative that UNITA abandon its military option and seek a resolution of the conflict in the context of the Lusaka Protocol.

In his report to the UN Security Council
( on 11 April, he said that the Angolan government had reaffirmed the Lusaka Protocol as the only valid instrument for peace in Angola, announced that national elections will take place if possible in late 2002, implemented an amnesty and set up a Fund for Peace and National Reconciliation to support those benefiting from the amnesty. Annan also welcomed the Angolan "government's willingness to recognise the need to ensure respect for human rights".

However, he warned that despite growing pressure from civil society for a political settlement of the conflict, fighting is continuing in many parts of the country.

Annan stated that "there are encouraging signs of a nascent democratic process involving broad segments of Angolans, including civil society, on the need for the drafting of a new Constitution, the debate over a new press law and on the need to ensure free and fair elections in late 2002".

The Secretary General stressed the importance of the UN Office in Angola, UNOA, and recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNOA for a further six-month period until 15 October 2001.

Annan pointed out that sanctions "seem to have contributed to efforts aimed at eroding the military capability of UNITA. However, there are worrying indications that some unidentified planes have been violating Angola's air space in the Cuando Cubango province to deliver supplies to UNITA, and that representatives of UNITA continue to raise funds through the illicit sale of diamonds".

He warns that "the security situation throughout the country has remained tense during the period under review. Government troops are reported to be pursuing the residual forces of UNITA and are taking control of the municipalities under the control of the rebel movement. It has been reported that UNITA soldiers have been deserting in large numbers, taking advantage of the amnesty law".

Annan states that "UNITA's systematic attacks on civilian targets have continued. Alleged human rights violations by Government security forces often appeared to be perpetrated by individuals or groups of soldiers or policemen acting outside the parameters of the official code of conduct and discipline".

Commenting on the relative weakness of state institutions, the Secretary General stated that "government authorities still face structural problems, such as inadequate human and material resources, that affect law enforcement and human rights protection. The overall justice system is weak and ineffectual in many parts of the country, particularly in rural areas, where many conflict-related violations occur. The prison system's lack of adequate resources often aggravate the conditions of detention. Pre-trial detention beyond periods established by law continues to be a problem".

He also stated that "freedom of expression and opinion, including the right to peacefully assemble, continued to be affected by the climate of instability generated by the ongoing war. However, despite some attempts to stifle their activities, particularly in the provinces, opposition parties have been forceful in exercising their rights, and the media have increased the space for public expression and information flow. Angolan radio and newspapers are covering more human rights issues and have broadcast debates on governance performances and democratic principles".

The Secretary General was optimistic about agricultural prospects for some of the 2.8 million people displaced since fighting resumed in January 1998. He stated that "the drought conditions experienced during December and January were relieved by the onset of seasonal rains in February. Compared to previous agricultural campaigns, significant progress has been made this year in land allocations to displaced populations. As a result, families have greater opportunities for engaging in agricultural activities and may be able to improve their coping mechanisms".

Whilst the drought has been relieved, the Secretary General's report was written before serious flooding hit Angola, leaving more than 48 people dead and 9,500 homeless. The worst hit provinces were Namibe, Cunene and Huila.

The report highlights the horror that 176,000 children under the age of five died in the year 2000, with UNICEF calculating that Angola's infant death rate is the second worst in the world.

Annan points out that the IMF staff-monitored programme has been extended by six months until June 2001 because of the slow implementation rate, both in its macroeconomic component and on the structural measures. The UN Development Programme, UNDP, also continues to work with the World Bank and IMF to support the preparation of the national poverty reduction strategy paper, PRSP. ...

ANGOLA: IRIN Focus on probe into UNITA's finances


IRIN-SA - Tel: +2711 880 4633; Fax: +2711 447 5472; e-mail:

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JOHANNESBURG, 26 April (IRIN) - The UN Security Council is set to hire an American company to investigate the finances of the Angolan rebel group UNITA. The council wants to know more about UNITA's investment portfolio and international money laundering operations that are fuelling the country's 26-year civil war. "This move is a clear indication that the Security Council is serious about enforcing sanctions against UNITA, as well as rebels in Sierra Leone," Security Council president Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock told IRIN.

The council committee, which monitors sanctions against UNITA, is drawing up a contract with New York-based Kroll Associates. The company, which has offices in many countries, specialises in international white-collar crime investigation and security issues. "If anyone can unravel the complex financial web around UNITA then it's Kroll," said Richard Cornwall of the Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies. "They've worked for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and are very well placed to undertake this kind of work." Diplomatic sources told IRIN that Kroll would have very clear terms of reference and would do no more than investigate UNITA's financial assets.

Greenstock said that a decision was taken to bring in Kroll Associates because the UN doesn't have the expertise to look into such complex financial transactions. "Kroll has a particular expertise that we're going to use in an attempt to gain more information about where UNITA banks and how they finance themselves," Greenstock said. Kroll is expected to start its 16-week investigation soon, he added.

Greenstock noted that the Security Council has been criticised in the past for approving sanctions against governments and rebel groups but not following them up. The council is expected in the near future to discuss the broader issue of seeking outside expertise, he said. "But there is a strong wish that the United Nations itself should develop a core competence in following up sanctions regimes, and I think that will be a priority for the council."

"Obtaining information on UNITA's financial dealings is one thing, acting on it is quite another," Cornwall pointed out. At this stage nobody is certain what Kroll's investigations will unearth, but Greenstock said it's final report to the Security Council could be used to pressure member states to enforce the law where it is being contravened. "This information is crucial if we're going to further tighten sanctions," Greenstock said. ...

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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