Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named new members to an expert panel set up by the Security Council to examine the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a document released today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In a letter to the President of the Security Council, Mr. Annan says a number of members will continue their work on the panel. “I should like to renominate Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem (Egypt) to continue to chair the Expert Panel,” he writes. “I should also like to recommend the renomination, as Panel members, of Mujahed Alam (Pakistan), Mel Holt (United States of America) and Moustapha Tall (Senegal), and intend to propose two new members whose names will be forwarded to you shortly.”
The Expert Panel will continue to retain its technical adviser, Gilbert Barthe of Switzerland, as well as a part-time technical adviser, according to the letter.
The reconstituted Expert Panel is expected to reassemble in late January 2002, either in Nairobi or in New York, and start its work soon after, the Secretary-General states. The Council had extended the Panel’s mandate for six month on 19 December. At the end of that period, the Panel will submit its final report.
When the Council last extended the panel’s mandate, it noted that the unabated exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth was perpetuating the conflict in the DRC, exacerbating the suffering of its people and impeding economic development.
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.