1 August 2005
Security Council Maintains Sanctions on Democratic Republic of Congo in Light of Failure by Parties to Comply with Its Demands
Resolution 1616 (2005) Reiterates Members’ Serious Concern over Armed Groups, Condemns Illicit Weapons Flows
NEW YORK, 29 July (UN Headquarters) -- Reiterating its serious concern regarding the presence of armed groups and militias in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and condemning the continued illicit flow of weapons within and into that country, the Security Council decided today to maintain the existing sanctions regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for another year in light of the parties’ failure to comply with its demands.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1616 (2005) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council expressed its intention, however, to modify or remove the sanctions, should it determine that its demands had been satisfied.
The Council imposed the arms embargo on the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo pursuant to resolution 1493 (2003) for an initial period of 12 months. That text envisioned measures by all States, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer, from their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and any related materiel, and the provision of any assistance, advice or training related to military activities, to all foreign and Congolese armed groups and militias operating in the territory of North and South Kivu and of Ituri, and to groups not party to the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.
Strengthening the embargo by resolution 1533 (2004) and renewing it until 31 July 2005 by resolution 1552 (2004), the Council later extended the embargo to cover the entire national territory by adopting resolution 1596 of 18 April 2005. It also imposed a travel ban and an assets freeze on those violating the sanctions. That resolution also helped to clarify exemptions to the embargo and significantly strengthened the monitoring mechanism, notably in the areas of civil aviation and customs.
Also by today’s resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to re-establish, within 30 days, and for a period expiring on 31 January 2006, the Group of Experts tasked with monitoring the embargo.
The Council had before it a report (document S/2005/436) of a current Group of Experts, whose mandate is due to expire on 31 July, as transmitted by the Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report presents the Group’s recommendations to maintain the existing sanctions regime “well into the post-electoral period” and to allocate sufficient means to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to allow for deployment on the borders and in the country’s airports in support of existing national customs structures; and to monitor airspace and airport activities.
According to the report, the experts also recommend the development of enhanced traceability systems for all important natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the direction of the Government and with the participation of Uganda, Rwanda, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), regional structures and relevant industry participants, as well as other interested parties. The experts suggest that the Transitional Government should be required to report regularly to the sanctions committee on the development and implementation of those systems. It should also request the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to assist in providing the technical expertise necessary to improve national aviation security standards. The World Bank, ICAO and other multilateral organizations should assist the Transitional Government in developing the capacity of its Civil Aviation Authority.
By the terms of the resolution adopted today, the Group of Experts was requested to present its next report to the Council by 10 January 2006. The report should include information on the implementation of the arms embargo and the experts’ recommendations in that regard, in particular regarding the lists of those found to have violated the measures imposed by the Council, and those found to have supported them in such activities, for possible future measures by the Council, as provided for by paragraph 10 (g) of resolution 1533 (2004).
The meeting began at 10.17 a.m. and ended at 10.20 a.m.
The full text of Security Council resolution 1616 (2005) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements by its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1493 of 28 July 2003, 1533 of 12 March 2004, 1552 of 27 July 2004, 1565 of 1 October 2004, 1592 of 30 March 2005 and 1596 of 18 April 2005,
“Reiterating its serious concern regarding the presence of armed groups and militias in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu and in the Ituri district, which perpetuate a climate of insecurity in the whole region,
“Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons within and into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and declaring its determination to closely monitor compliance with the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1493 and expanded by resolution 1596, and to enforce the measures provided for in paragraphs 13 and 15 of resolution 1596 against persons and entities acting in violation of this embargo,
“Recognizing the linkage between the illegal exploitation of natural resources, illicit trade in such resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as one of the factors of fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa,
“Taking note of the report of the Group of Experts referred to in paragraphs 10 of resolution 1533 and paragraph 21 of resolution 1596 (hereafter the Group of Experts), dated 5 July 2005 (S/2005/436), transmitted by the Committee established in accordance with paragraph 8 of resolution 1533 (hereafter the Committee),
“Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Reaffirms the demands of paragraphs 15, 18 and 19 of resolution 1493 and of paragraphs 5 and 19 of resolution 1596;
“2. Decides, in light of the failure by the parties to comply with the demands of the Council, to renew until 31 July 2006 the provisions of paragraphs 20 to 22 of resolution 1493, as amended and expanded by paragraph 1 of resolution 1596, and reaffirms paragraphs 2, 6, 10 and 13 to 16 of resolution 1596;
“3. Expresses its intention to modify or to remove those provisions if it determines that the demands noted above have been satisfied;
“4. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Committee, to re-establish the Group of Experts within thirty days from the date of adoption of this resolution and for a period expiring on 31 January 2006, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the Group of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1596;
“5. Requests the Group of Experts to continue fulfilling its mandate as defined in resolutions 1533 and 1596, to update the Committee on its work by 10 November 2005, and to report to the Council in writing, through the Committee, before 10 January 2006, including on the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraph 20 of resolution 1493 and expanded by resolution 1596, with recommendations in this regard, in particular regarding the lists provided for by paragraph 10 (g) of resolution 1533, and including information on the sources of financing, such as from natural resources, which are funding the illicit trade of arms;
“6. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
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