President Bush has lifted sanctions against Angola’s UNITA organization, a former rebel group that has become a political party now that the country’s civil war has ended.
“UNITA no longer poses an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States,” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Wednesday.
The executive order, signed Tuesday and announced Wednesday, lifts all sanctions imposed on UNITA in three executive orders that President Clinton signed from 1993 to 1998.
The main effect of the action taken by Bush is that it allows transactions by UNITA members with U.S. financial organizations.
The orders had also banned the sale of military equipment to UNITA. Bush’s action will have no practical effect on that ban because the United States does not allow the sale of arms to political parties.
Also prohibited was the sale of diamonds by UNITA. The lifting of that sanction has no effect either, because all Angolan diamond exports require a certificate from the Angolan government.
Angola’s quarter-century of civil war ended a year ago after the army killed UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who attempted to violently grab power after Angola’s 1975 independence from Portugal.
Earlier this year, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney called Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos seeking to gain his support for the Iraq war.