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Annan re-appoints expert panel on illegal exploitation of resources in DR of Congo

Annan re-appoints expert panel on illegal exploitation of resources in DR of Congo

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has re-appointed an expert panel investigating the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The appointments were announced in a letter by the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council released today at UN Headquarters in New York. The reconstituted panel is expected to assemble early next month for consultations, including with Member States, before heading to the Great Lakes region, according to the letter.

Late last month, the Security Council unanimously extended the mandate of the panel for another six months, asking the experts to recommend measures that could be taken to ensure that the DRC’s resources are legally extracted, on a fair commercial basis to benefit the Congolese people. The panel was also asked to review its previous data in order to reinforce and update its findings to reflect new concerns such as how capacity building and reforms in the region are affecting exploitation activities.

In his letter, the Secretary-General says that he has reappointed Mahmoud Kassem of Egypt to continue to chair the expert panel. Along with Mr. Kassem, the newly appointed members include Alf Gorsjo of Sweden, Mel Holt of the United States, Bruno Schiemsky of Belgium and Ismaila Seck of Senegal. They will be assisted by Andrew Danino of the United Kingdom, who will serve as part-time Technical Adviser. Necessary staff support will also be provided.

The Secretary-General says that a proposal regarding an additional panel member will be made shortly.