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Security Council extends Lebanon, Georgia missions; arms ban in DR of Congo

Security Council extends Lebanon, Georgia missions; arms ban in DR of Congo

Security Council
In a flurry of month-end activity, the United Nations Security Council today extended by six months the mandates of both its monitoring force in the "Blue Line" between Israel and Lebanon, and its force monitoring a ceasefire accord between the Government of Georgia and Abkhaz authorities in north-west Georgia.

It also extended, for one year, its arms embargo against all foreign and Congolese armed groups in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Gravely concerned at the persistence of tension and violence along the Blue Line, in particular the fighting that occurred in the area in May, and the exchange of fire between the Hezbollah militia and Israel in the Shab'a farms area on 29 June, the Council decided to extend the mandate of its nearly 40-year-old Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), through 31 January 2006.

The unanimously adopted measure condemned all acts of violence across the Blue Line that have resulted in deaths and injuries on both sides, and urged the parties to put an end to these violations and to refrain from any act or provocation that could further escalate tensions. It also urged Lebanon to deploy an adequate number of security forces along the withdrawal line between the two countries.

In another unanimously adopted text, the Council extended the 12-year-old UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), and stressed that the continued lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive political settlement of the separatist conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, is unacceptable and called on both sides to participate in constructive negotiations and to spare no efforts to overcome their ongoing mutual mistrust.

The Council also underlined that the process of negotiation leading to a lasting political settlement acceptable to both sides will require concessions from both sides, and welcomed the positive momentum given to the UN-led peace process by regular high-level meetings of the "Group of Friends" in Geneva and the Georgian-Russian summit meetings.

Condemning the continued illicit flow of weapons within and into the DRC, the Council unanimously renewed its two-year arms ban in the country, particularly in light of the presence of armed groups and militias in the eastern DRC and in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu and in the Ituri district, which perpetuate a climate of insecurity in the whole region.

The measure also called on Secretary-General Kofi Annan to re-establish for one year the Group of Experts for the DRC to monitor compliance with the embargo and requests that the group report to the Council before 10 January 2006 on all the information it has gathered, including on sources of financing, such as from exploitation of natural resources, which are funding the illicit arms trade.