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Arms Embargo Against Dr Of Congo Monitored

Security Council Sets Up Committee To Monitor Arms Embargo Against Dr Of Congo

The Security Council today established a committee to monitor an eight-month-old arms embargo against all armed groups operating in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a bid to strengthen the weapons ban, also authorizing the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country to seize or collect and to dispose of arms or related material found in violation of the measure.

Today's action was prompted by the Council's concern at the continuing insecurity and the flow of illegal weapons throughout the vast DRC - driven chiefly by armed groups and militia in North and South Kivu and in Ituri.

The Council's unanimous http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8025.doc.htm resolution condemns the illicit flow of weapons into the DRC and declares its determination to closely monitor compliance with the arms embargo imposed last July, when the Council demanded that States, particularly those in the region, ensure that no direct military or financial assistance was given to the movements and armed groups present in the country.

The committee established today will report regularly to the Council with its observations and recommendations, in particular ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures aiming to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel and the provision of training or military assistance to all foreign and Congolese armed groups in the east of the country. States were requested to report to the committee within 60 days on their actions taken towards this end.

The Council also asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to create within 30 days an expert, four-person panel to examine and analyze relevant information gathered by the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) in its efforts to monitor the arms embargo.

For its part, MONUC was asked to continue to use all means to monitor the movements and presence of armed groups, and to continue its surprise inspections of aircraft cargo or of any transport vehicle using ports, airfields and military bases and border crossings in North and South Kivu and in Ituri.

The Council's text also underscores the right of the Congolese people to control their natural resources and stresses the need for all countries to work to bring an end to the illegal exploitation of such resources as well as trafficking in the region's raw materials.

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