SECURITY COUNCIL REQUESTS MANDATE EXTENSION UNTIL
31 OCTOBER FOR PANEL INVESTIGATING PLUNDER OF
RESOURCES IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Adopts Resolution 1499 (2003) Unanimously
NEW YORK, 13 August (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today, noting with great concern the continued plundering of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the eastern part of the country, requested the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Expert Panel investigating the issue until 31 October, to allow it to complete its work and submit a final report.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1499 (2003), the Council reiterated its demand that all States concerned take immediate steps to end the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic.
In June 2000, the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish the Expert Panel to follow up on reports and collect information on all activities of illegal exploitation. The Panel was also mandated to research and analyse the links between such exploitation and the continuation of the conflict.
In January of this year in resolution 1457 (2003), the Council requested that the Panel be given a new mandate in order to follow up on its independent findings. Among its new tasks were: a review and analysis of information gathered; verifying and updating its findings; an assessment of the impact of actions taken by governments in response to the Panel’s previous recommendations; and formulating recommendations on measures to be taken by the transitional Government in the Democratic Republic and other governments in the region to ensure the legal and fair exploitation of the country’s resources.
Also by that text, individuals, companies and governments had until 31 March to transmit to the Panel their reactions to the Panel’s last report (document S/2002/1146). (For summary, see Press Release SC/7642 of 24 January.) To enable those named to effectively comment on the Panel’s findings, the Panel began arranging meetings with them in Nairobi in March to discuss the procedures for an exchange of information. Those named had until late May to present their reactions. The reactions of 58 individuals, companies and States are now contained in an attachment to the report (document S/2002/1146/Add.1).
The enclosed reactions relate primarily to individuals and corporate entities. There are also reactions from Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Those reactions will be discussed with governments, as part of the dialogue that the Panel will be engaging in with States during the remainder of its mandate.
The Panel, chaired by Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem (Egypt), is composed of the following independent Experts: Andrew Danino (United Kingdom); Alf Gorsjo (Sweden); Mel Holt (United States); Bruno Schiemsky (Belgium); and Ismaila Seck (Senegal).
Today’s meeting began at 10:25 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1499 (2003) reads, as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous relevant resolutions and statements of its President on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1457 and 1493 (2003),
“Welcoming recent progress in the political process and the establishment of the transitional government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
“Noting with great concern that the plundering of natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues, especially in the eastern part of the country, as reported to the Council in an interim briefing, on 24 July 2003, from the Chairman of the Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereinafter “the Panel”), and stressing that appropriate action should be taken with regard to those responsible for such activities,
“Taking note of the Panel’s efforts to establish constructive dialogue with individuals, companies and States named in its report (S/2002/1146) of 15 October 2002,
“Welcoming the publication, as an attachment to the Panel’s report, of the reactions of those individuals, companies and States,
“Recognizing that exchanging information and attempting to resolve issues will help the transparency of the Panel’s work as well as heighten awareness of the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the context of the conflict and, in particular, its connection with the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons,
“Taking note of the Panel’s intent, in accordance with paragraph 9 of resolution 1457, to remove from the annexes attached to its report the names of those parties with which it has or will have reached a resolution by the end of its mandate,
“Renewing its support to the Panel in its efforts to secure, including through dialogue with parties named in its last report, particularly with governments concerned, a clearer picture of activities related to the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to update its findings during the remainder of its mandate period,
“1. Requests the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 31 October 2003 to enable it to complete the remaining elements of its mandate, at the end of which the Panel will submit a final report to the Council;
“2. Reiterates its demand that all States concerned take immediate steps to end the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
“3. Requests the Panel to provide the necessary information to the governments concerned as required in paragraph 12 and 13 of resolution 1457, with due regard to safety of sources, in order to enable them, if necessary, to take appropriate action according to their national laws and international obligations;
“4. Calls on all States to respect the relevant Security Council resolutions in this regard;
“5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
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