The situation in Angola Letter dated 10 March 2000 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2000/203)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Yingfan
|Mr. Ben Mustapha
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, the Council will now hear statements by those Member States that wish to make comments on the report of the Panel of Experts and to whom invitations have been extended under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
The first speaker is the representative of Burkina Faso. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
It was only yesterday evening that we were able to acquaint ourselves with the report of the Panel of Experts to investigate violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA. My delegation regrets the fact that it was not received early enough to allow us to study it in depth and thus make a significant contribution to the debate. We shall return to this aspect of the matter later. For the time being, I wish to thank you, Sir, for having given us the floor to express our view on the work of the Panel of Experts.
The report submitted today for the consideration of the members of the Security Council — the broad coverage of which by the media before its official publication has already been the subject of a response by my Government — calls for the following preliminary comments from us.
First of all, it should be noted that the mission of the Panel of Experts to my country, Burkina Faso, in pursuit of its investigations was quite clearly botched. Indeed, when the Chairman of that Panel, Ambassador Anders Möllander, wrote to me on 11 November 1999 to propose the date of 13 December 1999, my Government suggested instead the month of January for the simple reason that the appropriate political authorities capable of responding usefully to the Panel’s expectations would be unavailable on the aforementioned date, as they would be in Lomé for the summit of the Economic Community of West African States. This arrangement seemed to have been set, in particular following exchanges with the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee, when, on Friday, 3 December 1999, to our great astonishment, the Panel of Experts called from Abidjan to tell us that they were compelled to move on to Ouagadougou. Thus, as one might expect, the experts were received only by administrative officials who, quite naturally, were in no position to respond to their questions. Nevertheless, in Lomé, where they subsequently travelled, the experts were received at great length by our Minister for Foreign Affairs. Clearly, however, from Togo he was in no position to accede to their request to visit certain supposedly suspicious locations that they wished to investigate. Thus, we are baffled by the report’s assertion in paragraph 21 that the Burkinabé authorities turned down on the spot the request of the Panel to investigate the airport at Bobo-Dioulasso. These details, which are not unimportant, appear nowhere in the report, thus giving the impression of a deliberate desire on the part of the Burkinabé authorities not to cooperate. Is it possible that all this was done to embarrass and put them in a helpless position, so that they might be accused later of refusing to cooperate?
Moreover, Ambassador Fowler will remember that, out of concern for the transparency of my country’s position, I proposed in an interview with him that the Panel of Experts should return to Burkina Faso. He saw no objection to this and even suggested to me that, should such a fresh visit prove impossible, Burkina Faso could provide by writing any information that the experts might request.
I needed to recall all this to demonstrate the extent to which it is difficult to consider the work done by the Panel of Experts in Burkina Faso as particularly meticulous. And yet, for one thing, the accusations levelled at my country are founded on the results of that mission. For another, we note that the thrust of the report of the Panel of Experts is based on allegations made by UNITA defectors — in other words, by people who had become the enemies of their former leader, Jonas Savimbi, and whose judgment, necessarily coloured by rancour and perhaps by the spirit of vengeance, cannot help but be biased and partial.
On the basis of this consideration alone, how can we put stock in such allegations? For the sake of our Organization’s credibility, an inquiry report of this importance — and, one might say, gravity, since it implicates countries and heads of State — must be based strictly on precise, tangible, verified and verifiable facts secured in an impartial and transparent process. However, with all due respect to the members of the Panel of Experts, this report seems to be built on allusions rather than on certainties. It will be noted, for example, that most facts lack dates and are often flawed by a lack of concordance and consistency. For instance, with respect to paragraph 10 of the report, General Bandua, the chief witness against Burkina Faso, was fully aware that the Angolan Government had been informed that he was to be questioned by the experts. What credence can we give to such testimony?
Our reading of the report leaves us with the sense of a certain degree of partiality based on a presumption of the guilt of some countries and leaders and of the innocence of others. Otherwise, how can we explain this ill-considered focus primarily on three African countries thousands of kilometres from the theatre of operations? By apparent coincidence, these three incriminated countries are in the same geographical area and are, moreover, French-speaking. Let us call things by their proper names.
We could expatiate at length on the partiality of the report, but we do not wish to tax the Council’s patience, especially since it appears that we will have the opportunity to return to this matter.
Nevertheless, we wish to raise three points. The members of the Committee carried out their enquiries in Europe, the United States, Israel and elsewhere. Why does the report remain silent in this regard? It seems strange that it is mainly African countries that are mentioned, given that the report refers to them only as relay points or intermediaries. What about those at the top? What about the main sources? What about the final destinations? What about those who benefit at the end of the chain of command?
The Panel of Experts considered the question of mercenaries with UNITA as being very important. Despite that, and although the Panel constantly received relevant information in this respect, the experts on the Panel say that they were not able to verify such information. Did they even bother to interview the representatives of the Executive Outcomes company, or even to question certain countries about this important issue?
There seems to be a clear desire to obscure facts and to exculpate certain important actors. The report itself states, in paragraph 12, “Inevitably, a number of actors, including important ones, will have escaped direct mention.” If they are important actors, why have they escaped mention? And why is that “inevitable”?
Let us now consider what the report calls UNITA’s use of diamonds to buy friends and supporters, as set out in paragraphs 99 to 104. The experts attest to having received first-hand testimony which makes it possible for them to name several heads of State. According to paragraph 12 of the report, one of the principles adopted by the Panel is that a fact can be validated only if it is corroborated by at least two sources of information. The accusation levelled at the President of Burkina Faso is based on the testimony of one individual alone, Mr. Bandua. Why, in that specific case, did the Panel not follow its own rationale, its own principle? Here it is practising double standards.
Once again, we would like to welcome the initiative of the Security Council in setting up the Panel of Experts, because, ultimately, it is concerned with bringing out the truth. But in our opinion, any investigation must be based on a rigorous, fair and reliable foundation.
Burkina Faso believes that the report of the Panel of Experts does not comply with the rigorous scientific requirements of that approach. Furthermore, given the sensitive nature and the gravity of the accusations made, we believe that the States concerned should have had the opportunity, even before the report was issued, to respond, and that such responses should have been included in the final report. That would at least have had the merit of transparency and, in particular, of fairness.
We object to the conclusions of the report of the Panel of Experts, and especially to those which accuse our head of State by name. Before this Council, we reaffirm the denial issued by our Government on 12 March.
Perhaps my country’s only fault — which has caused so much acrimony on the part of certain States — is that it is one of the few countries as yet to dare to think that any solution to bring peace to Angola cannot exclude negotiation.
Nowhere in the report is there any mention of the Angolan people. However, in the end, it is their destiny that matters. On the other hand, there are numerous references to diamonds.
We would therefore like to ask several questions. Who is benefiting from the embargo? Who is buying UNITA’s diamonds? Who is manufacturing weapons and selling them to UNITA, which is buying them with diamond money? Such questions — and many more — should have been elucidated in the report. Many small countries, including mine, would like to have answers.
In conclusion, I should like to reaffirm my country’s commitment to the relevant decisions of our shared Organization, the United Nations, and to state once again that Burkina Faso will join in any initiative aimed at achieving peace and that it will do its utmost to help to achieve that objective in Angola, in Africa and throughout the world.
The next speaker is the representative of Togo. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me first of all to congratulate you warmly, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. I am sure that your country, Bangladesh, will make a positive contribution to the work of this body during your term of office.
I should also like to thank the members of the Security Council for giving me an opportunity to speak during this debate on the situation in Angola and to let them know, on a preliminary basis, my observations on the report of the Panel of Experts set up in accordance with Security Council resolution 1237 (1999). Naturally, my country reserves the right to provide the Security Council with any necessary additional information at a later stage.
I should first like to say a few words about the people of Angola and all of those who are suffering from the civil war in that country. The most recent report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/23) stated that there are 3.7 million victims of the conflict, 2 million of whom have been displaced. That report also indicates, in paragraph 15, that in Angola, “various military elements, including UNITA, have been responsible for the looting of crops and destruction of property”.
Togo profoundly wishes for peace to return to that country and for a political solution to be quickly found to the conflict, which has lasted too long. We sincerely hope that both parties to the conflict, the Government and UNITA, will recognize the possible role that the United Nations could play.
During the most recent meeting on this issue, on 18 January, the Chairman of the sanctions Committee was so kind as to provide us with a video presentation worthy of the sorry episodes of the Moscow trials, showing UNITA defectors bearing witness. Today, the Council has before it the report of the Panel of Experts responsible for studying violations of sanctions against UNITA.
While condemning the flimsy and selective nature of the accusations in the report, I should like to make two comments. First, it should be emphasized that, normally, anyone bringing an action in a court or making an accusation against a third party has an obligation to prove the facts. It is the person bringing the charge who must provide the evidence, not the other way around.
Secondly, almost all of the serious accusations against Togo are based on declarations made by deserters and defectors from UNITA, namely, General Bandua, Colonel Alcides Lucas Kangunga, alias Kallias, Colonel Aristides Kangunga, brother of the aforementioned, and Mr. Araujo Sakaita. I would point out, that contrary to what is said in the report in footnote 5 to paragraph 9, where the latter is said to be “a son of Jonas Savimbi”, who “broke with UNITA and returned to Angola from Lomé in October 1999”, the student Araujo Sakaita was kidnapped in October 1999, when he was 19 years old.
This kidnapping was followed by an attempt, on 19 November 1999, to kidnap his younger brother, Eloy Sakaita, who was 17 years old at the time. Thwarted by the Togolese security services, this attack was carried out by Mr. Manuel da Silva Casimiro, the Second Secretary in the Angolan embassy in Lagos. Arrested and indicted, he then said that he was acting on his own, in order to get a promotion, following the example of those who had carried out the first kidnapping.
I would also like to stress in particular the working methods followed. Unfortunately, the working methods consisted of compiling rumours, hearsay and gossip that were then regarded as being verified because they were confirmed by UNITA defectors. How can one give any credence to allegations made by such people when they all subsequently joined the Government army? Is it not in their interest, just for the sake of survival, to repeat what others, trained in the best schools of the cold war, have whispered to them?
In one of those very few cases where the information given by a defector, in this case General Bandua, was indeed verified by the Panel of Experts, the information proved to be unfounded. To be specific, let me refer to paragraph 40 of the report:
“General Bandua stated that he thought that BM-27 (Hurricane) Multiple Launch Rocket system had come from Ukraine, via Togo. However, the Government of Ukraine reported that there were no authorized arms sales from Ukraine to Togo during the relevant period.”
On this point, the report concludes again in paragraph 40:
“The Panel’s investigation turned up no evidence that the Government of Ukraine sold arms or otherwise provided military assistance directly or indirectly to UNITA.”
So why does the Panel not exonerate Togo in this case in the same way as it exonerated Ukraine?
The absolute lack of rigour in the approach taken can be seen again from paragraphs 101 and 102 of the report, in which the Panel of Experts claims that payments were made in the form of diamonds. No date is given, which is hardly astonishing since the facts are invented. Assuming, however, that the sanctions Committee would like to ask us for additional explanations, we would like to know the specific dates of the meetings that are mentioned. Did the meetings all occur after 28 August 1997, the date on which the Security Council adopted resolution 1127 (1997) prohibiting travel by members of UNITA? And the supposed exchange of the diamonds, did that happen after 12 June 1998, when the Security Council adopted resolution 1173 (1998) prohibiting the transfer of diamonds held by UNITA?
Yet such a generously financed body should really take a more rigorous approach that particularly takes into account the gradual evolution of the sanctions imposed and the way they progressively became more diversified.
Then in paragraph 64 of the report, we are virtually accused of being “solicited”, along with Burkina Faso and Zambia, by UNITA with a view to providing it with petroleum products. “Solicited” obviously does not mean that we agreed to do this, and the Panel of Experts is careful not to accuse us on this particular score. But, nevertheless, the damage is done, the seeds of doubt were sown.
I, too, could take information from here and there and proclaim it loudly in all directions from the rooftops. For example, I could speak of the content of the excellent report from the Canadian non-governmental organization Partnership Africa-Canada on diamond trafficking in Sierra Leone and say that the De Beers diamond company — which, curiously, is so seldom cited in the report of the Panel but which controls between 80 and 90 per cent of the world diamond trade — acquired, in 1999, 35 per cent of the Ekati mine in Canada, which is to represent 6 per cent of world production in the years to come.
I could also mention the case of Sierra Leone, for while there is no Canadian interest in the case of Angola, in Sierra Leone there are three Canadian companies — Rex Diamond Mining Corporation, Am Can Mineral Limited and Diamond Works — which have all been operating in Sierra Leone. I could say that those in charge of the Rex Diamond Mining Corporation, which was registered on 14 September 1985 in Toronto, have publicly boasted of their privileged relations with Foday Sankoh’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
These are proven facts that I am citing. Should I conclude from all this that the Government supports RUF? Would I go and write such a thing without asking for the view of the country concerned? This, nonetheless, is what has been done in the case of Togo, and I ask all the members of the Security Council to think about this.
Let me come back to the working methods of the Panel. My country attaches great importance to this. We sincerely believe in the neutrality of the United Nations. On several occasions the report accuses my country of having hosted the family of Mr. Savimbi, including his children, in violation of existing sanctions. We do not deny this fact, but unless we enter the logic of personal vendetta, we do not see how children can be held responsible for the actions of their fathers. It is, however, clear that if the children were on the list drawn up by the sanctions Committee, we would immediately take the necessary steps to expel them from our country. But would the United Nations venture to proceed along this road and deny the right to life and the right to education to children whose parents are — at a given moment, because things do change in life — presumed guilty of certain crimes. The devastating consequences for innocent civilians of the sanctions imposed and applied blindly against Libya and Iraq, for example, make us shudder at the very idea.
In any case, let the Security Council and the sanctions Committee shoulder their responsibilities, and I assure the Council that we will shoulder ours. Certainly we can be accused of many things — of advocating dialogue in order to foster peace on our continent, and of rightly refusing to hurl anathema on certain individuals — but I do not believe we can honestly be accused of having violated existing sanctions.
Turning again to the selective nature of the accusations by the Panel of Experts, I would like to note and deplore the fact that many countries that have long been known to be involved in violations of sanctions relating to Angola are deliberately omitted from the report, and sometimes mitigating circumstances are invoked by the Panel in favour of certain Governments or countries. One cannot otherwise understand how in paragraph 142, for example, the Panel of Experts can allow itself to say, “the current military leadership in Abidjan is said to be close to Savimbi and very sympathetic to UNITA.” But there is not a word about the considerable influence brought to bear by distinguished individuals on spheres of power or on the decision-making process in certain countries.
Also, one could well wonder about the relevance of omissions in recommendation 34 of the Panel, where nothing is said about certain subregional organizations to which the Council is invited to submit the report, as though to imply that there is a certain hostility on the part the members of these subregional organizations vis-à-vis the peace process in Angola.
I now come to the investigations undertaken in my country. I should point out, since the Panel of Experts did not deem it opportune to do so, that the period of 8 to 11 December 1999 was slated for the visit to Lomé of three members of the Panel. Unfortunately, that coincided with the summit of the West African Monetary Union, which was followed by the conference of heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States. We therefore proposed to the Chairman of the Panel to delay the visit slightly and to come after 10 December. However, the three experts did not heed our suggestion and kept to their initial plan as though their presence alone meant that all the competent national departments should be available to them regardless of the summits being held. As a result, it was not until a few hours before their departure on 11 December that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of my country and the chief of police met with them, twice.
Having some information on the violations cited in connection with the UNITA meeting, the Togolese side gave its reactions. Responding to information regarding the welcoming of Mr. Savimbi on his arrival at Lomé on 17 November. The Togolese side provided evidence to show that the Government was at that time meeting in the Council of Ministers at Kara, in the north of Togo, and that there it met President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali. Obviously, if Mr. Savimbi had landed at Lomé on the same day aboard a military aircraft, accompanied by Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba — leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) — he certainly did not receive a welcoming ceremony commensurate with his presumed rank.
Apart from the rather disconcerting frivolity with which the Experts — entrusted by the Council to work on a noble cause — offered these accusations against States, and above all against heads of States, leaks were cunningly orchestrated to make the report available to the media; there were attempts to set States and subregions against each other; and there was an impression of collusion between the interests of a country that has an official mandate and the implementation of sanctions against UNITA. These are elements that could significantly affect the credibility of the Security Council and of the United Nations. I think this should be remedied immediately.
As far as Togo is concerned, we have always affirmed and reaffirmed our commitment to the United Nations, to the ideals of the Charter and to peace in Africa. We have always advocated cooperation between the Angolan and Togolese security services. I am happy to be able to tell the Council that an Angolan delegation visited Togo last week, specifically from 4 to 10 March 2000. The delegation visited a number of locations that the international brainwashing campaign has identified as being involved in violations of the sanctions against UNITA. It went to the Commando de Kpéwa National Training Centre, in the north of Togo, which was established in 1975 and has already provided training for and graduated over nine classes of monitors and commando instructors, both nationals and foreigners. Is this not evidence of Togo’s commitment to transparency in inter-State relations? Is this not an indication of our willingness to dispel all misunderstandings and to contribute to the relaunching of the peace process in Angola?
I cannot conclude my statement without stressing, for the benefit of those who have called for it, that just as they would not be inclined to interfere in the way in which the Innuit of Labrador or the Nisga’a people of British Columbia are ruled over, so are Africans loathe to accept directives or injunctions from individuals who come from elsewhere — whatever mandate they may have taken on. Until the contrary is proved, the future of the Organization of African Unity remains in the hands of Africans.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the importance my country attaches to achieving lasting peace in Angola. Would not the energies we are now expending in accusing each other, in defending ourselves and in indicting each other not be better utilized in favour of that objective?
Then next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Rwanda. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
My delegation wishes to commend the President, and his predecessors, for the work he is doing and for presiding over this body. We hope he will bring its deliberations to wise conclusions.
We also wish to express support for the mission of the Committee on sanctions and for its Chairman’s commitment to gather information and recommendations for the Council to work on.
The Government of Rwanda has, like other Members of the United Nations, just learned of the contents of the report of the Panel of Experts on Angola sanctions. I wish to recall that when the Panel of Experts was constituted, it was given the following mandate: to collect information and investigate reports relating to the violation of sanctions imposed against UNITA with respect to arms and related material, mercenaries and other forms of military assistance to UNITA; to collect information and investigate reports relating to the violation of sanctions imposed against UNITA with respect to petroleum and petroleum products, diamonds, and the movement of UNITA funds; to identify parties aiding and abetting the violation of Security Council sanctions against UNITA; and to recommend measures to end such violations and improve implementation of the sanctions imposed by the Council against UNITA.
While reserving its right to express its views on the entirety of the report of the Panel of Experts in writing, there are some sections of it to which the Government of Rwanda wishes to react to immediately, today. These are contained in paragraphs 25, 26, 50, 67, 82, 83, 107, 148, 155 and 156. In those paragraphs, the Panel of Experts is making very wild allegations about Rwanda’s cooperation with UNITA. Those allegations could be summed up as having to do with military cooperation, arranging diamond sales and facilitating meetings with weapons brokers.
The Rwanda Government wishes to state categorically that these allegations have no foundation and are merely hearsay from quarters that distort facts for reasons known only to themselves. What is also very clear is that contrary to its mandate to investigate reports, even where the Panel was given clarifications, those were not taken aboard, as is evidenced throughout the report. When the Panel visited Rwanda, it was given information and explanations — which are not even mentioned as having taken place — and we wonder how and why the Panel has decided to leave them out of the report.
Generally speaking, the report is misleading. It has a lot of confusion and contradictions due to poor sources of information and useless details. There are many examples to illustrate this lack of consistency, but because of the constraints of time we will detail them to the Security Council in writing.
For the record, the Rwandan Government wishes to make it clear that there is no military cooperation with UNITA. The fact that Rwandan troops used Angolan territory to evacuate Rwandan troops did not necessarily mean a pact with Savimbi. Angola knows how we evacuated our troops in a successful military rescue operation. I insist on this. Nobody ever had contact with Savimbi, or with any UNITA officials for that matter. It could have been the first one, and thank God it never happened. To suggest, as the report does, especially in paragraph 26, that some Rwandan troops stayed together with UNITA forces is simply a blatant lie with no logic at all.
There is absolutely no truth to the allegation in paragraph 26 of the report that Rwandans “have allowed UNITA to operate more or less freely in Kigali for the purposes of arranging diamond sales”. Also, individuals mentioned in paragraphs 26 and 148 had no business contacts with Rwandan authorities. I insist on that. This allegation is another result of rather vague, non-specific, unresearched and unverified information. This raises serious questions.
The Panel of Experts owes the Security Council better investigations, instead of a simplistic “Mobutu versus Kabila” factor, as to why Rwanda is allegedly dealing with UNITA today. This is wrong and an intellectually lazy way of thinking and of patching stories together to discredit someone and a country that, as rightly expressed by the report, had never had any contacts with Savimbi or his movement before. History should take them somewhere else — not to Rwanda, the ever-surviving poor victim of all United Nations failures.
Rwanda formally challenges the Panel to produce concrete evidence of the unfounded and uncalled-for allegations, and wishes to reiterate its commitment to the resolutions of this body and of the United Nations as a whole. The burden of proof falls on the Panel to give evidence to the Security Council, and to the countries mentioned in the report, in order to substantiate these allegations, and Rwanda should be allowed, like any other Member of the United Nations, to work on its continued support for sanctions against UNITA.
Rwanda still believes that the Angolan people have suffered enough and wishes to reiterate its support for whatever needs to be done to bring peace and security to Angola and the region.
The next speaker is the representative of South Africa. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Let me begin by thanking you, Mr. President, very much for hosting this meeting today. We believe that this is an important meeting, and we are pleased that you are able to invite us to participate in it.
The South African Government welcomes the report of the Panel on violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA. In the coming weeks, my Government will be studying this report with great care, and we look forward to the following meetings at which the sanctions Committee will discuss this same subject. At the same time, we look forward to receiving more evidence on the allegations that are contained in the report. We support all the United Nations sanctions against UNITA and shall continue to work closely with the United Nations for the success of these measures in order to secure a peaceful solution to the conflict in Angola.
We are aware that some of our citizens have been involved in efforts aimed at undermining the United Nations sanctions. We shall take firm action against those involved. South Africa will continue to advocate a political solution to the conflict in Angola, as we remain convinced that there can be no lasting military solution. We once again urge UNITA to abandon war and embrace peace.
The next speaker is the representative of Bulgaria. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Ambassador Robert Fowler for the informative presentation he made this morning with regard to the outcome of the activities of the Panel of Experts on violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA.
Since the report of the Panel, contained in document S/2000/203 of 10 March 2000, distributed yesterday, has references to my country, I feel obliged to take the floor and to share with the members of the Security Council my preliminary observations on it. At the same time, I would like to reserve the right of my delegation to respond more comprehensively to the accusations raised against my country at a later stage.
Allow me at the outset to express my Government’s frustration with the violation of the established procedure requiring all countries concerned to be acquainted first with the report, before it is given to the mass media. We hope that the way in which this document was issued will not set a precedent in the activities of the Council.
In order to avoid similar unacceptable situations in the future, my delegation would like to put forward for consideration two concrete proposals. First, the Chairman of the relevant body should not only bear the primary responsibility for the content of the report, but he or she should be responsible for any unauthorized leakage. Secondly, to assist the Chairman of the relevant body in fulfilling this responsibility, the document should be given to the interested States mentioned in it in the original language in which it was produced at the same time or before it is given to the Secretariat for translation and general distribution.
After these procedural remarks, I would like to bring to the Council’s attention that the report of the Panel of Experts was duly forwarded to the respective Bulgarian authorities for further consideration, examination and analysis. However, it is absolutely clear at this point that, despite some speculation in the mass media, the report does not, and could not, contain even a single piece of concrete evidence linking Bulgaria as a State or its State policy with any violation of Security Council resolution 864 (1993) or of the internationally recognized standards and norms of arms control regimes. The report itself states in paragraph 15 that
“arms procurement by UNITA was not by means of direct contact between UNITA and arms producing countries.” (S/2000/203).
The Bulgarian Government has extended its full support to the Security Council resolutions on Angola, and our political position with regard to UNITA and the situation in Angola has been categorically confirmed by our adherence to the declarations and decisions made by the European Union on this issue. Bulgaria has demonstrated its willingness to fully cooperate with and assist the sanctions Committee and the Panel of Experts established to investigate violations of sanctions against UNITA.
During the visit of the Expert Panel — led by its Chairman, Mr. Anders Möllander — to Bulgaria from 19 to 21 January 2000, a number of meetings were held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and the Interdepartmental Council at the Council of Ministers. The latter is the only authorized licensing body in Bulgaria in the area of arms trade. Comprehensive and substantial written information was provided, including a response to the additional inquiries, which was submitted to the Panel on 11 February last. All information thus presented to the Panel attests to the fact that the Bulgarian authorities have acted in strict compliance with domestic legislation and with the Security Council resolutions on Angola.
That is why we would like to share with the Council our great concern in respect to the following. It is our full conviction that the States that extend their full support and assistance to control and monitoring bodies should not be punished by the distortion and misinterpretation of the information they submit to the experts, whatever the reasons for such handling of the facts. One might even get the impression, on the other hand, that the countries that did not provide substantive information in a timely manner are on the safe side, since they are not being extensively referred to in the report. Such an approach is totally unacceptable and is harmful to the effective monitoring of the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. It can only discourage the willingness, and increase the cautiousness, of those Governments with regard to the activities of the expert bodies. These bodies should pursue their mandates with objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity, and they should base their findings and recommendations on sound legal evidence.
Let me at this stage briefly comment on some of the major allegations raised in the report that involve Bulgaria. First, the assumption that the arms transaction referred to in paragraph 38 of the report was carried out is groundless. The deal was cancelled when the end-user certificate believed to be provided by the Ministry of Defence of Zambia was proved false. The equipment mentioned in that paragraph can still be found and verified in the storage premises of the Ministry of Defence of Bulgaria. The approach followed by the Panel in this case raises serious doubts about the credibility of the information sources used in the preparation of the report.
Secondly, no legal obstacles were seen to the arms supply to Togo cited in paragraph 42 of the report, since the country was not subject to an arms embargo, either by the Security Council or by the European Union. Furthermore, the transaction was approved on the basis of genuine end-user certificates submitted by the Ministry of Defence of Togo.
Thirdly, the training of Zairian military officers in Bulgaria took place on the basis of a bilateral agreement between the two Ministries of Defence in 1996, when no restrictions applied to military cooperation of this type.
Having said this, on behalf of the Bulgarian Government, I categorically reject as absolutely unfounded and unacceptable any accusations raised or presumed in the report of the Expert Panel of possible violations by my country of the Security Council sanctions against UNITA.
As we have repeatedly declared in recent years, Bulgaria has been applying the most stringent controls to its foreign arms trade, based on a specific law adopted by Parliament in 1996. Each foreign transaction in arms and dual-use goods and technologies is considered and approved on an individual basis, after a meticulous review of the required documents. This legally binding procedure is strictly observed. The established regulations for export control licensing are being consistently improved, with the aim of achieving the standards of the European Union in this regard. A legislative amendment is currently being put on the high-priority agenda of the Government and Parliament for the first half of this year. The amendment is intended to introduce more developed mechanisms for the control and implementation of international restrictions imposed on the arms trade with regard to specific countries and regions.
Not only is Bulgaria active in the improvement of its national legislation, but it is sparing no effort to enhance international and regional cooperation in this area. A regional conference on export controls was held in December 1999 in Sofia, at the initiative of the Bulgarian Government, under the auspices of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. The Conference adopted two important political documents: a joint declaration on responsible arms transfers and a statement on harmonization of end-user certificates. The 12 participating countries agreed on a number of concrete measures to combat illicit arms trafficking in the region, thus contributing to the fulfilment of the common goal of the international community in this field.
Finally, I would like to assure the Council that the Bulgarian Government will seriously consider the report and is ready to cooperate further with the Security Council Committee on sanctions against UNITA.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Zambia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
My delegation wishes to congratulate the Panel of Experts on violations of Security Council sanctions against UNITA for the great amount of work they put into compiling the report which is before the Security Council today. Special thanks, of course, go to Ambassador Fowler for the leadership role he continues to play to ensure that the sanctions imposed by the Security Council against UNITA not only remain effective but are tightened.
My delegation wishes to reiterate the Zambian Government’s commitment to ensuring peace in our region. As such, we will remain opposed to actions that could reinforce conflict in neighbouring countries. Peace and stability must return to Angola without any further suffering of the Angolan people. To this effect, my Government will fully cooperate with all efforts by the international community to ensure compliance with the Security Council sanctions against UNITA.
With regard to the contents of the report itself, I wish to state that a number of the suggestions and recommendations made will certainly prove effective in ensuring that sanctions are further tightened in order to completely diminish UNITA’s ability to wage war. The report, however, has just come out, and many Governments, including my own, have not had a chance to study and consider it fully. My Government will therefore comment on the report at an appropriate time.
The next speaker is the representative of Morocco. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
As this is the first time I have had the opportunity to address the Council since you, Sir, assumed the presidency, I do not want to miss this opportunity to convey to you the warmest congratulations of Morocco and of the Moroccan delegation. We are convinced that thanks to your diplomatic skills and experience, and your thorough knowledge of the United Nations, you will successfully conduct our work and the work of the Council throughout this month.
Allow me also to convey the Moroccan delegation’s congratulations to Ambassador Fowler on the report that he, in his capacity as Chairman of the Security Council sanctions Committee on Angola, introduced to the Council.
We also thank the Council for having acceded to our request to have an opportunity to clarify the situation concerning a reference — a minor one, certainly, but it is a reference nonetheless — to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco and to Morocco.
In paragraph 123 of the report, the Panel indicates that it learned that in 1995 Mr. Savimbi had placed $250,000 with UNITA’s representative in Morocco, and that additional payments were made later. The same paragraph indicates that at least some Moroccan officials knew of the initial deposit, which, according to the report itself, occurred prior to the imposition of sanctions on UNITA. And paragraph 125 concludes that the Panel
“noted the apparent absence of any action by Morocco to track down or freeze UNITA assets that had been transferred to that country with the knowledge of Moroccan officials”.
Here there is an error in the French text, which instead of saying “des fonctionnaires“, should say “de fonctionnaires“. We are not talking about all the officials, just some of them, as the report previously states.
In order to dispel any ambiguity and to clarify the situation, I would like to inform the Council that the funds referred to in the report were completely exhausted before the imposition of sanctions. As regards the UNITA representative who is mentioned, we have already formally reported to the sanctions Committee and its Chairman that this person left Morocco a long time ago, and I would like to confirm this today.
In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm Morocco’s support for all the efforts of the international community — beginning first and foremost with our Council — to restore peace, stability and prosperity to the fraternal country of Angola, which has suffered excessively from the torments of war.
I thank the representative of Morocco for the kind words he addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Belarus. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Allow me first of all to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting and for allowing us to address the Council on such an important matter.
The Government of the Republic of Belarus welcomes the efforts made by Ambassador Fowler of Canada, Chairman of the Security Council sanctions Committee on Angola. We welcome his efforts to establish an effective mechanism for putting pressure on UNITA in the interest of stabilizing the situation in Angola. The importance of today’s meeting was underlined by the statements made here by the United Kingdom Minister of State, Mr. Hain, and by the Angolan Minister for External Relations, Mr. Miranda, and by other representatives in the Council.
In the view of the Belarus Government, Ambassador Fowler’s idea of establishing this panel of experts to thoroughly investigate the implementation of the sanctions against UNITA was a new and unusual step. It will certainly help mobilize further efforts of the international community to ensure strict compliance with the sanctions regimes imposed by the Security Council.
The Panel’s report presented to the Council today is of fundamental importance. The facts and recommendations contained therein must be studied most carefully, and relevant measures should then be adopted both by the Members of the United Nations and by the Council.
At this stage, I would like to offer a few preliminary comments on the report. Belarus is one of the States that the Chairman of the Expert Panel, Ambassador Möllander, visited in early February of this year. I would like to note that the Government of the Republic of Belarus allowed Mr. Möllander’s Panel the opportunity to study comprehensively the work of the border and customs authorities of Belarus, the work of the Foreign Ministry and the system of export controls imposed to comply with the provisions of Security Council resolutions involving Angola.
The Government of the Republic of Belarus prepared detailed answers in response to the follow-up questions that were asked by the Panel while it was in Minsk. Since the Panel had not set any specific time-frame for the submission of the information, our response was made available to the Chairman of the sanctions Committee and of the Panel Chairman, Mr. Möllander, immediately after the competent authorities in our Republic had prepared this response. Ambassador Fowler discussed this today.
At the same time, we are sorry to see that the Panel’s report does not note the unwavering and strict commitment of the Republic of Belarus to comply with the sanctions regimes imposed by the Security Council. Nor does the report reflect the fact that the Panel did not uncover any violations by Belarus of the provisions of the Council’s resolutions. In this connection, we would like to note that additional information was submitted on 29 February — exhaustive information on all the questions that had been asked by the Panel — and the Expert Panel’s report was issued on 10 March. We hope that subsequent documents from the Panel of Experts and from the Security Council will contain the relevant information in this regard.
In conclusion, allow me once again to emphasize that the Republic of Belarus always has, does and will strictly comply with all decisions of the Security Council, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and other international legal instruments. The Government of the Republic of Belarus intends to cooperate tirelessly with the Sanctions Committee, the Panel of Experts and the Council as a whole in the hope of achieving a political settlement to the conflict in Angola.
The next speaker is the representative of Belgium. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Belgium has read with the greatest attention the report of the Panel of Experts before us on today’s agenda.
Our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louis Michel, is in Luanda today and has had a lengthy interview with the President of the Republic of Angola. I can assure the Council that our two Governments approach the question of sanctions in the same way.
We are aware of the unspeakable suffering of the children, men and women of Angola. That is why Belgium is committed firmly and unreservedly to the objectives pursued by the authors of the report and believes, as they do, that the effectiveness of and monitoring mechanisms for Security Council sanctions must be improved. In this spirit, Belgium regrets the omission of important information from the report, as well as the inclusion therein of some unfounded references.
The Government of Belgium has indeed assumed its responsibilities and has taken United Nations sanctions very seriously from the moment they have been imposed. Three important elements with respect to the actions of my Government seem to be lacking from the report.
After several internal preparatory meetings, an interdepartmental working group referred to in the report — the so-called “diamond task force” — was established in January 2000. This task force has met five times since the beginning of the year. It includes representatives of all Belgian ministries and departments concerned. It has studied and decided upon several measures to improve the mechanism monitoring the provenance of diamonds. These measures consist, inter alia, of enhanced monitoring by customs authorities and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, as well as the establishment, together with the Luanda authorities, of a certification mechanism. Other administrative measures are under consideration by the task force.
We did not, however, wait for the creation of the task force to strengthen the existing controls, which had already led to the seizure of illegal diamonds. Following upon the actions undertaken since then by the task force, customs and judicial investigations have been initiated with regard to various persons suspected of illegal diamond trading.
Moreover, in a discussion which the Minister for Foreign Affairs had recently with the management of the Diamond High Council, the latter undertook to revise its procedures at the request of the Belgian Government. It was decided, inter alia, to create a second working group, to include representatives of the Belgian Government and the Diamond High Council, to draft a programme of action and determine measures to be taken.
Furthermore, the Belgian Government has fully cooperated with the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee from the outset. In February this year, the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee was informed orally and in writing of the most recent measures undertaken by the Government, thus bringing up to date the information available to the Committee. Finally, these measures were made public on 3 March in a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels.
Information has been provided to the Panel of Experts on Belgians or other people operating abroad who might hold Belgian nationality. Unfortunately, the report makes no mention of this cooperation or of the drafting currently under way of an effective Belgian bill on extraterritoriality for crimes related to the illegal diamonds trade. Moreover, a protocol agreement exists between the Diamond High Council and the judicial authorities in charge of prosecuting diamond-related crimes.
The Panel claims to have found that
“the extremely lax controls and regulations governing the Antwerp market facilitate and perhaps even encourage illegal trading activity”. (S/2000/203, para. 87)
However, Belgium is the only — I emphasize only — country of the European Union with a binding licensing system for the import and export of diamonds, based on two laws of 1962 and several royal and ministerial decrees of 1987, 1993, 1995 and 1997. The entire trade in diamonds with countries not members of the European Union is subject to this system. There is also a monitoring mechanism for all diamond trading within the European Union.
The Belgian Government is accordingly surprised to find no, or at best only partial mention in the report of these various measures, despite the fact that information on them was conveyed in due time. Thus, the reference to the
“unwillingness of the responsible authorities in Belgium effectively to police the smuggling of illegal Angolan diamonds onto the market” (ibid., para. 108)
would not appear to reflect the true state of affairs.
Another point I wish to make refers to the entirely erroneous assertion in paragraph 88 of the report that an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 diamond dealers in Antwerp operate in a so-called “grey” market outside the regulatory framework. All importers and exporters of diamonds are required to enrol with the Department of Licenses in Antwerp, which is under the direct responsibility of the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs. This is not the case for jewellers — in Belgium or anywhere else, for that matter — a distinction that was apparently lost on the authors of the report.
Although reference is made in the report to the fundamental problem of identifying the origin of diamonds — particularly in paragraphs 98 and 92 — this extremely complex issue is insufficiently elaborated and clearly underestimated in the report.
The Belgian Government welcomes the recommendation made in paragraph 113 that a conference of experts convene for the purpose of determining a system of controls that would allow for increased transparency and accountability in the control of diamonds from the source or origin to the bourses. We will participate and ensure that Belgian expertise contributes to such an endeavour.
In conclusion, I wish generally to emphasize Belgium’s appreciation of the clear and specific language of the report, which will help to modernize the working methods of the Security Council. At the same time, we regret that the report makes no mention of the factual information — of fundamental importance to us — that was conveyed by my delegation here in New York and during the visits of its authors to Brussels and Antwerp.
I thank Ambassador Fowler for the additional points he made on this matter in his oral briefing, but, frankly, I should have preferred them to appear in the report. Belgium accordingly requests that, when the Security Council resumes its discussion, the report be brought up to date to take the factors I have indicated into account.
Finally, Belgium reiterates it full readiness to work in close cooperation with the Sanctions Committee. We share the idea that armed conflicts must be resolved through a political approach, without ignoring — as the report does — the perverse economic mechanisms that feed conflicts.
The next speaker is the representative of Uganda. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
First of all, let me congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of this body, and commend you for convening this meeting, which is discussing a subject that is very important in our region. My delegation also welcomes the presence here today of the Minister for External Relations of the Government of Angola and of the Minister with responsibility for Africa of the Government of the United Kingdom.
The Government of Uganda welcomes this report (S/2000/203), which is very important. We welcome the recommendations therein, because we believe they will strengthen the sanctions regime against UNITA. However, my Government expresses its regret that, in spite of extensive discussions which the Panel of Experts held with Ugandan officials last month, all the information that was exchanged and provided was ignored. The Panel, apparently, remained unconvinced, and went ahead and reproduced the allegations. For that reason, I take this opportunity to present to this Council and to you, Mr. President, the record of the discussions that took place in Uganda on 16 February.
The Panel of Experts to investigate violations of sanctions imposed against UNITA visited Uganda from 14 to 17 February this year. The team was in Uganda to investigate allegations against Uganda — allegations of its collaboration with UNITA in contravention of United Nations sanctions. The members of the Panel met Ugandan Government officials on Wednesday, 16 February, and they were led by Ambassador Anders Möllander.
The Panel raised a number of questions, made allegations and sought answers from the Government of Uganda. The Government of Uganda categorized those questions under several headings, which appear in the annex to document S/2000/200.
The first category was alleged arms transfers by the Government of Uganda to UNITA. The Panel sought to know whether it was true that some of the military tanks imported by Uganda through the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in 1998 and early 1999 were destined for UNITA-held areas.
The Panel of Experts sought to know whether it was true that there was a relationship between UNITA and the Uganda-backed rebel movement of Jean-Pierre Bemba, which is fighting the Government of Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Panel wanted to know whether Uganda was a conduit for arms to the rebel movement, in circumvention of the arms embargo.
The Panel wanted to find out from the Ugandan Government who issued end-user certificates for arms re-exported from Uganda.
The Panel of Experts wanted to establish the truth regarding Ugandan customs procedures, and whether it was possible to import and re-export UNITA diamonds into and out of Uganda, and to re-export petroleum products to UNITA-held areas in Angola.
The Panel sought to obtain information about air supply and cargo aircraft operating out of Uganda. It asked why an alleged high-level Government official took an interest in the release of a cargo plane which had been impounded in Zambia in August 1999, after having discharged its cargo, on suspicion that it had been ferrying arms to UNITA-held areas. It was alleged that someone in the Government of Uganda asked President Chiluba of Zambia to intervene in order to have the plane released.
The Panel wanted to verify reports of visits by senior Ugandan army officers to UNITA-held areas of Angola between 1996 and December 1999. The Panel also wanted to establish whether there was a visit to Uganda by Jonas Savimbi of UNITA in October and November 1999, as well as visits by other senior UNITA officials.
The Panel asked the Ugandan Government to tell the truth as to whether Uganda had any information about Victor Bout or Boutov, an arms dealer operating a cargo airliner under different names; Jacques “Kiki” Lamaire, who owns planes and is involved in fuel airlifts to UNITA; and many others.
The Government of Uganda responded to those questions as follows. With regard to arms transfers to UNITA, as far as end-user certificates for large consignments of arms are concerned, these are issued only by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence. The office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, confirmed to the Panel of Experts that no such certificate has ever been issued for arms to Angola.
As for the alleged importation of tanks through the port of Dar es Salaam in 1998 and 1999 which were allegedly sent to UNITA, the Government of Uganda informed the Panel of Experts that all the tanks which had been imported through the port of Dar es Salaam were still in the possession of the Ugandan armed forces, and it asked the experts to verify physically those facts.
The Government of Uganda informed the experts — and I would like to inform you, Mr. President, and this Council — that Uganda does not supply, and has never supplied arms to UNITA, either directly or indirectly, through the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC). It is a well-known fact that most of the arms which are used by the rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were captured from the Government forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and from the allies of Kabila who were defeated, namely, the forces from Chad.
I would like to inform this Council that, while the Government of Uganda is cooperating with the MLC of Jean-Pierre Bemba, it is not the policy of the Government of Uganda to dictate whom our partners cooperate with. Therefore, the Government of Uganda cannot be responsible for the arms which the rebel groups have in their possession.
On customs procedures, I would like to inform the Council, as the Government informed the Panel of Experts, that Uganda does not have a seaport. Most of the imports — indeed, 70 per cent of them — come in by road. With regard to transit cargo, the customs department of the Uganda Revenue Authority receives and escorts transit cargo vehicles from entry to exit points. In most cases, the original seals on the containers are left intact. Should there be any cause of suspicion, Customs does the physical verification of the goods, after which a Uganda Revenue Authority seal is put on the container. In all cases of transit goods, a customs bond is executed at the point of entry and the same sum is refunded at the end.
Total verification is done at an inland container depot for goods destined for Uganda. The Government informed the Panel of Experts that records showed clearly that Uganda had neither importehttps://www.undemocracy.com/files/securitycouncil/d nor re-exported diamonds into or out of uganda. uganda, as you know, does not produce petroleum products; neither does it re-export those products, either by land or by sea.
With regard to the cargo aircraft which took off from Entebbe, the Panel was informed that Uganda has only one international airport, at Entebbe, with three runways. The other airfields are either grass or murram and only take light aircraft.
The Government of Uganda is a signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation; Uganda is, therefore, duty bound not to allow into her airspace aircraft violating the airspace of other sovereign States. The air base at Entebbe is open to and is used by many leased aircraft, but it is impossible to conduct secret flights from there without attracting the attention of the Government.
The report specifically mentions a plane which was impounded in Zambia and which was allegedly operating out of Entebbe. I would like to inform you, Mr. President, that that plane was impounded in Lusaka, Zambia after it had left Entebbe for the last time, one month, in July, prior to its impounding. It left Entebbe allegedly en route to Eldoret, in Kenya. If it diverted itself to Lusaka, the Ugandan Government was not responsible for that. There are no records to indicate that the plane returned to Entebbe after it had been banned, although the operator made several attempts to have it returned.
The Government of Uganda takes serious exception to the allegation that a very high-ranking member of the Government contacted President Chiluba over the release of the plane, and we strongly object to the insinuation that that high Ugandan official who contacted President Chiluba could only have been President Chiluba’s counterpart. We challenge the Panel of Experts to produce evidence for that insinuation.
With regard to visits by UNITA officials to Uganda and vice versa, I would like to inform the Council that Mr. Savimbi never visited Uganda on those said dates. No UNITA official has ever visited Uganda since the imposition of the travel ban. No Ugandan Government official has visited UNITA-held areas in Angola. The names of people forwarded by the Panel did not appear anywhere in the records of Uganda.
On other matters that the Panel raised — that UNITA assisted the Uganda armed forces and installed an anti-aircraft battery in Kisangani — the Panel was informed, and I repeat, that the Uganda Government found it ridiculous that the Panel could conclude that the Uganda Government would depend on a fledgling rebel army for its air defence.
On alleged military cooperation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the Uganda armed forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not holding any territory which borders UNITA-held areas and, therefore, the allegation that the two armed forces are collaborating is unfounded.
Before I conclude, let me state that the Panel was informed that Angolan intelligence officers had visited Uganda in the framework of cooperation between the two Governments and had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country in which they had interest but had not turned up any evidence incriminating Uganda. The Government of Uganda would accept and welcome any follow-up visit, from Angola or from the investigators of this Panel should they wish to do so, in order to erase the suspicion of alleged collaboration of Uganda and UNITA.
We state Uganda’s support for the Angola Peace Agreement and respect for and adherence to all Security Council resolutions. The Panel was informed that Uganda would submit its findings to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee on Angola, who would in turn make a report to the Security Council. The Government of Uganda takes this opportunity to reiterate its offer to the Angolans to come to Uganda, if they so wish, and cross check the information given over the period and on the allegations made in this report.
In conclusion, Uganda is committed to peace and security in Africa. Uganda has no collaboration whatsoever with UNITA. Uganda has never, and will never, support any measure which breaks the sanctions of the United Nations Security Council.
I shall now give the floor to Ambassador Fowler, Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola, to respond to some of the comments and questions raised.
I join virtually every other speaker in expressing my thanks to you, Mr. President, and to our colleagues in the Council for agreeing to give the representatives of countries accused of sanctions busting a chance to state their case. I think it is important that we did so, and I am glad they had that opportunity.
I reject, of course, any suggestion that my country — very, very recently a diamond producer — is somehow biased in its administration of Security Council sanctions. Further, I can assure you, Mr. President, that no Canadian participated in the leaking, cunning or otherwise, of any documents to the press relating to the Panel’s report. Indeed, I personally deeply regret that such leaks occurred, and I apologize for any embarrassments such leaks caused, particularly in view of their significant inaccuracies.
With regard to strident statements suggesting the Panel used something less than adequate rules of evidence, I would note that the Panel used a higher standard — more than one witness deemed credible by the Panel, with direct personal knowledge of specific violations — than would apply in a court of law in most countries in, say, a bribery case.
The 15 hours of interviews with captured or defected UNITA officers in Luanda in early January were of course recorded four and a half months after the Panel began its investigations, and therefore were used to corroborate, confirm or eliminate a huge volume of evidence already received by the members of the Panel in their extensive travels.
I appreciate that this is not a typical meeting of the Council, nor is it easy for any country to suffer such accusations. That said, some useful information was offered this afternoon — particularly by Morocco and Belarus — and I am grateful for it. After all, this is what we are about; we are in the business of improving our database and our information exchange, and this meeting has been useful for that purpose.
The development of such information, and the provision of such recommendations as we have received from the Panel this morning, is of course precisely what we asked the Panel of Experts to do. As I said this morning, I believe that they have done us proud, and under extremely difficult circumstances. I ought to have added — and I am pleased to do so now — that the Panel did so without fear or favour, and I think that is clear from its report.
Faced with convincing evidence of high-level complicity, I stress that the Panel had no option but to report it. Sanctions have been grievously flouted by individuals, Governments and business enterprises in the matter of arms and war matériel for nearly seven years. Until very recently, the will of the Council with regard to the never-ending civil war in Angola had had absolutely no impact in terms of limiting the horror being visited upon the people of Angola. Clearly, the Council hopes to change that, and the Panel has offered a blueprint for change.
No change is possible, however, without radical changes in the way we all do our business and in the standards of compliance we require of all Member States. For there is a massive body of evidence that the sanctions have been consistently and grossly violated, and nobody has agreed with that. How else has Savimbi managed to carry on this war in the way that he has? Every Member of this Organization knows that these sanctions are being violated, and it cannot really be a surprise to learn how it is being done. We look forward to cooperating closely with all Members of the Organization, including those who took the floor this afternoon, as we develop new standards of sanctions discipline to deprive UNITA of its military option.
Before I conclude, I would just like to say a word to my colleague, Ambassador Doutriaux, further to his intervention this morning. He asked lots of questions that I think would take a lot longer than six months to answer, but they are valid questions, and he has every right to ask them. Certainly we need to know more and, as the Panel has recommended, I hope very much we will put in place a continuing mechanism to get the sorts of answers he has requested and, indeed, to be able to ask more questions. Of course, that is why I put before the Council a very specific recommendation of the Panel to set up a continuing mechanism that will allow the provision of more answers and the asking of more questions in an interactive process.
Ambassador Doutriaux himself allowed that he was aware that certain sources of information cannot be revealed, but others can and will be. As to his specific queries about the provenance of specific statements and the timeliness and the charges made by the Panel, if I could ask him to make his questions a little bit more precise I will ask the Panel to give what answers they can to his specific questions, bearing in mind that the Panel is on overtime and that they are not being paid. They are here because they decided to join us, and maybe we had better not impose on them until we have decided what we are going to do in the future and whether we are going to somehow make it possible for them, or their successors, to continue working for this particular public good.
I wish to assure Ambassador Doutriaux that the Panel was well aware of the specific moments at which specific sanctions came into effect. There is no doubt that the Panel knew that arms sanctions had been in effect since 1993 and that travel and diplomatic sanctions had been in force since 1997, and diamond sanctions since 1998, and those timing realities were very carefully reflected in their findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The delegation of France has asked whether countries and Governments more specifically accused of sanctions busting were consulted in advance. I think the Ambassador of Tunisia asked somewhat the same question. The short answer is that they were, both by the Panel — which in a couple of instances was treated rather shabbily when it visited certain countries and tried to engage in an effective dialogue — but also by me in the days that preceded the release of the Panel’s report. I wish to qualify that by noting that I did not provide representatives of countries that were subsequently accused of sanctions busting in the report with precise details or conclusions of the Panel’s report, which of course I did not and could not have known until two weeks ago. I did meet with those concerned, however, to give them a very general but nevertheless clear idea of the extent of the findings that I anticipated would be reached by the Panel.
In conclusion, as Chairman of the Committee charged with enforcing these measures, I hope that the Governments that for different reasons have not cooperated or responded specifically to specific Panel requests until now might soon do so. If they address any such information to me as Chairman of the Committee rather than to the Panel, which is now defunct, I will ensure that the information is brought to the attention of the Committee and therefore informs our further work in this area.
I thank you, Mr. President, for this detailed day of investigation into why sanctions against UNITA have not worked better and on how we can make them work better in the future.
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list.
In prior consultations, the Council decided to convene another open meeting to give an opportunity to the larger membership of the United Nations to participate in this issue. I will keep myself open to that on the understanding that if there are needs expressed and requests by the Member States to speak, then maybe we will schedule such a meeting.
In any case, the Security Council will remain seized of the matter.