HC Deb 30 November 1999 vol 340 c169W
Mr. Worthington

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made in inhibiting the use of diamond sales for funding the war in Angola. [100671]

Mr. Hain

UN Security Council resolution 1173 of 12 June 1998 imposed a ban on the direct or indirect import from Angola of all diamonds not controlled through the Certificate of Origin regime of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation of Angola (GURN). The aim was to cut off diamond revenues to UNITA, and so reduce their ability to fund continued fighting. Following the adoption of the resolution, the Government amended the Open General Import Licence to prohibit the import into the UK of diamonds exported from Angola not accompanied by a GURN Certificate or Origin. The ban is implemented in the Overseas Territories through the Angola (United Nations Sanctions) (Dependent Territories) Order 1998.

This corrects information in a previous written answer to my hon. Friend on how the UK implements its obligations under resolution 1173 with regard to the import of diamonds—3 November 1999, Official Report, column 189W. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my hon. Friend for that error.

UN Security Council resolution 1237 of 7 May 1999 established a panel of experts to investigate alleged violations of the sanctions against UNITA, in support of the work on the UN Angola Sanctions Committee. Panel members are paying a series of visits to the region, and will report on how sanctions in relation to UNITA diamonds can be implemented and enforced more effectively.

We welcomed the announcement by De Beers on 5 October that they will no longer purchase any Angolan diamonds, and will urge their clients to adopt a similar policy. In this task I want to see full co-operation from trading centres such as New York, Antwerp and Tel Aviv and also from other diamond companies to follow De Beers' lead. This is vital to disabling UNITA's murderous war effort.

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