Condemning the continued plundering of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations Security Council today extended the mandate of an expert group mandated to explore ways of addressing the problem.
In a statement read out by the Council President, Ambassador Moctar Ouane of Mali, the 15-member body said the unabated exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth was perpetuating the conflict in the country, exacerbating the suffering of its people and impeding economic development.
The President stressed the need to continue to monitor this situation “in order to keep the necessary pressure to put an end to the illegal exploitation of the resources of the DRC, including the exploitation of human resources, at the expense of the Congolese people and of the peace process.”
In extending the Panel’s mandate for six months, the Council requested an interim report in three months including an evaluation of possible Council actions, recommendations on specific measures that the international community might take, and proposals on possible steps by transit countries as well as end users to contribute to ending the illegal exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources and other forms of wealth.
The statement also stressed that no external parties – or groups or individuals under their control – should benefit from the exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources at the country’s expense. “The DRC’s natural resources should not serve as an incentive for any State, group or individual, to prolong the conflict,” said Ambassador Ouane. “External parties – and groups or individuals under their control – must not use the natural resources of the DRC to finance the conflict in the country.”
In its latest report to the Council, the six-member Panel called for a moratorium on the purchase and importing of precious products, such as coltan, diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, timber and coffee, originating in areas where foreign troops are present, as well as in territories under the control of rebel groups.
Earlier in the day, Council members expressed concern over troop movements in the east of the country and called on all parties to refrain from any military action.
In a press statement, the President said that Council members encouraged the Kinshasa Government, the Ralliement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD)/Goma and the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC) to continue their high-level negotiations aimed at paving the way for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue that was about to resume in South Africa.
The parties – particularly the RCD and Rwanda – were also called on to cooperate with the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to allow the launching of the next phase of its deployment.