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    Press Release No:   UNIS/ SC/1200
    Release Date:   17 March 2000
    Chairman of Security Council’s Angola Sanctions Committee Briefs Council
    On Expert Panel Report Investigating Sanctions Violations

     NEW YORK, 15 March (UN Headquarters) -- 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.

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