Angola: UN-supported panel calls for lifting sanctions against UNITA

Angola: UN-supported panel calls for lifting sanctions against UNITA

A panel set up to implement the remaining tasks of the Angolan peace process has recommended that the United Nations Security Council immediately lift the sanctions imposed by it on the former rebel group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

The Joint Commission made the recommendation after declaring yesterday that the main tasks of the Lusaka Protocol had been completed and that medium- and long-term tasks would be dealt with on a continuing basis between the Angolan Government and UNITA.

The declaration was signed by Ibrahim Gambari, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Angola and Chairman of the Commission, as well as representatives of the Angolan Government, UNITA and the three observer States of Portugal, Russian Federation and the United States.

Speaking to the press after the signing, Mr. Gambari said the objective of the Lusaka Protocol was national conciliation, "which is not an event but a process." It was up to the parties, the Angolan people and the international community to increase their efforts to consolidate the peace and promote national reconciliation in the country, he added.

Asked about the Joint Commission's position on reports that UNITA still possess some weapons and diamonds, Mr. Gambari said the Commission had heard from UNITA regarding the issue and that the Declaration signed by the parties had taken account of the report.

On the future role of the UN in the country's peace process, Mr. Gambari said, "I think one chapter is closed and another one is open, which is for the international community to increase its assistance in the key areas left" - humanitarian, developmental issues, support for social reintegration of demobilized soldiers and the millions of internally displaced people.