TITLE=U-N - ANGOLA - DIAMONDS (L - ONLY)
INTRO: Diplomats at the United Nations today
(Thursday) welcomed new private-sector measures aimed
at reducing diamond sales by Angola's UNITA rebel
group. The measures are designed to reduce UNITA's
ability to purchase new weapons, as we hear from our
U-N correspondent Max Ruston.
TEXT: Members of the U-N Security Council responded
individually to a decision by South Africa's De Beers
diamond group to stop buying diamonds from Angola. De
Beers' decision is aimed at supporting international
sanctions against Angola's UNITA opposition group.
The president of the U-N Security Council's Angola
Sanctions Committee, Canadian Ambassador Robert
Fowler, welcomed the De Beers decision.
/// FIRST FOWLER ACT ///
I don't think we are going to stop cold anybody
from selling UNITA diamonds or buying UNITA
diamonds. This step, though, is going to put a
major crimp in it.
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Fowler says diamond sales are the primary fuel for
Angola's civil war, providing funds for UNITA to
/// SECOND FOWLER ACT ///
Our estimate is that UNITA has earned three to
four billion dollars over the last eight years
in diamond sales.
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Fowler does not know what portion - if any - of
UNITA's diamond sales has gone through De Beers. But
he says De Beers' decision to place an embargo on the
purchase of Angolan diamonds should send a clear
message to diamond dealers around the world that such
trading will no longer be profitable. De Beers says
its embargo will not affect a contract already in
place to buy diamonds from a joint venture with the
Angolan government and an Australian mining company.
Diplomats say the ease with which UNITA has been able
to raise funds for arms purchases is partially
responsible for the breakdown of Angola's 1994 Lusaka
Peace Accord, which was to have ended more than two
decades of civil war in the country. The peace accord
broke down last year after UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi
refused to abide by his pledges to disarm his soldiers
and hand over to the government areas of the country
under UNITA control. (Signed)
07-Oct-1999 16:06 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 2006 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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