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Angola: Gambari wraps up talks in Luanda; Security Council extends sanctions panel

Angola: Gambari wraps up talks in Luanda; Security Council extends sanctions panel

The United Nations Special Adviser for Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, said in Luanda today that his discussions with government authorities and representatives of the UNITA rebel group reaffirmed the importance of the UN's role in Angola, but some specifics needed further clarification.

Speaking at a press conference as he prepared to wrap-up his two-week mission to Angola, Mr. Gambari said as part of immediate action, the UN would appoint observers to reinforce its participation in the truce oversight commission.

Mr. Gambari has been in Angola for talks with government officials and leaders of the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and to witness the signing on 4 April of a ceasefire agreement between the two sides.

In today's press conference, Mr. Gambari also pledged continued UN support, especially with regard to encouraging the parties to finalize a peaceful settlement under the Lusaka Protocol. "We are gratified to note that peace is being given a real chance in Angola," he said. "It is now up to the Angolans to consolidate peace and build their future."

Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council unanimously extended for six months, or until 19 October, the mandate of an expert panel monitoring the enforcement of UN sanctions against UNITA.

The Council also asked the panel to submit a detailed action plan for its future work, in particular on the financial measures and other steps imposed against the rebel group concerning the diamond and weapons trade.

By the same text, the Council requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint four experts to serve on the monitoring mechanism in consultation with a Council oversight committee.

In May 1999, the Council established an independent Panel of Experts "to trace violations in arms trafficking, oil supplies and the diamond trade, as well as the movement of UNITA funds."

The Council tightened the existing restrictions in April 2000, and established a new monitoring mechanism and put into place a process whereby the Council would consider appropriate action in relation to countries suspected of violating the sanctions.