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Congo: UN Mission To Disarm Foreign Fighters

Security Council Calls On Dr Of Congo And UN Mission To Disarm Foreign Fighters

The United Nations Security Council today called on the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to "develop a joint concept of operations for the disarmament of foreign combatants," together with the UN peacekeeping mission there, as it extended the mission's mandate to 1 October.

In that regard, the Council, which was considering Secretary-General Kofi Annan's 17th report on the situation in the country, again "encouraged" the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to make full use of its mandate in eastern DRC, including using "cordon and search tactics to prevent attacks on civilians and disrupt the military capability of illegal armed groups that continue to use violence in those areas."

The unanimously approved resolution identified "the continuing presence of ex-Forces armées rwandaises (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe elements," with ex-FAR being former Rwandan soldiers and the Interahamwe being rebels from Rwanda's Hutu ethnic group, as a threat to the local civilian population and an impediment to good-neighbourly relations.

The Governments of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC should end the use of their territories either to break the arms embargo the Council imposed in 2003 against militias or to aid their activities, it said.

The neighbouring States should also "impede any kind of support to the illegal exploitation of Congolese natural resources, particularly by preventing the flow of such resources through their respective territories," the Council said, recalling the link between the illegal seizure of natural resources and the fuelling of armed conflicts.

The donor community should continue to provide assistance in integrating former militia members into the official Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and National Police and with training and equipping both the FARDC and the police force, it said.

Troop-contributing countries should carefully review the letter that Mr. Annan sent out last week and "take appropriate action to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel in MONUC, including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness-training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such misconduct involving their personnel," the Council said.

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