Canada Proposes Angola Resolution

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Canada Proposes Angola Resolution

(Rapaport…5 April, 2000) Associated Press reports that Canada has proposed a Security Council resolution calling on members to consider in six months whether to impose sanctions against countries that have helped Angola’s UNITA rebels evade a U.N. ban on arms and diamond exports.

Canada’s U.N. Ambassador Robert Fowler, the current Security Council president, acknowledged that the issue of whether to “sanction the sanctions-busters” is likely to generate heated debate.

Last month, a U.N. report by an independent panel detailed how rebels bought weapons from Eastern Europe, primarily Bulgaria, and had them shipped via African countries in exchange for gems — in violation of U.N. sanctions imposed in 1993 and expanded in 1998.

The panel, which visited 30 countries over six months, accuses the presidents of Burkina Faso and Togo and the late Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of receiving diamonds for helping UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi with arms and fuel shipments in violation of the sanctions. It also accuses Rwanda of allowing UNITA to conduct guns-for-gems transactions and Belgium of allowing rogue dealers to trade UNITA gems with virtually no obstacles.

African governments vehemently denied the allegations, demanded evidence to substantiate them and questioned the report’s reliance on testimony from rebel defectors. France also demanded answers about the panel’s sources, and the lack of specific dates when alleged violations occurred. Diplomats said Canada’s call to impose sanctions on violators would likely elicit opposition from these countries. Even a vague reference to consider sanctions at a future date would be a significant leap for the council, regardless of whether measures were ever imposed, diplomats said.

Under the draft resolution, Fowler said the Security Council’s decision on whether to impose sanctions would be based on three considerations — the independent panel’s report, information provided by the alleged violators, and establishment of an inspection mechanism.

“On the basis of those three things, the council would decide whether or not to proceed against sanctions-busters,” he said.

Fowler chairs the U.N. sanctions committee on Angola, and with Canada holding the rotating Security Council presidency in April, he is pushing for agreement on a resolution to implement the nearly 40 recommendations made by the panel. Western officials said the bulk of the Canadian draft merely puts into resolution form the panel’s recommendation on better implementing sanctions, such as calls for governments to register and monitor the activities of arms brokers.

The two most significant elements of the draft are its calls for the council to consider sanctioning the violators and a proposed monitoring mechanism to keep watch over implementation of sanctions, the officials said. Diplomats said they did not anticipate major opposition to a long-term monitoring system, although financing would be an issue that had to be worked out.

Fowler said Canada envisions using inspectors to carry on the panel’s investigative work and “to make sure that people indeed do the things that they say they’re doing.”

The proposal that Angola sanctions busters be sanctioned has major implications for other U.N. sanctions, Fowler said.

“If it makes sense to sanction sanctions-busters with respect to Angola, why not with respect to Iraq or anywhere else?” he asked

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