UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council Monday unanimously adopted a resolution ending nine years of sanctions against Angola's UNITA, a former rebel movement that now is an opposition political party.
The move comes less than one month from Angola assuming a non-permanent, two-year seat on the council.
The measure ends a 1993 ban on travel by UNITA leaders, their exporting diamonds or arms and fuel for the then rebel movement. It also stands as a kind of coming-of-age mark for the former rebels.
At the same time, the resolution dissolved the council committee monitoring the sanctions that had been headed by Irish Ambassador Richard Ryan, who last week expressed great pleasure at the end of sanctions, which nearly coincides with the end of Ireland's two-year tenure on the council Dec. 31.
UNITA is the Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. The group began fighting after Portugal granted Angola independence in 1975.
Interim peace attempts failed until a U.N.-brokered deal in 1994, which itself was threatened in 1998 by holdout rebels refusing to surrender. A cease-fire was signed last April, however, shortly after the longtime UNITA chief Jonas Savimbi was killed by the government.
In addition to having a wealth in precious gems, Angola also benefits from oil.