NAIROBI, 1 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1616 (2005) on Friday which extends an existing two-year arms embargo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for at least one more year.
The Council made the decision recognizing "the linkage between the illegal exploitation of natural resources, illicit trade in such resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as one of the factors of fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa".
The sanctions extend resolution 1493 (2003), as well as subsequent related resolutions, which prevent UN members states from "allowing the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer, [of arms and related materiel] from their territories or by their nationals ... and [of giving] any assistance, advice or training related to military activities, to all foreign and Congolese armed groups and militias".
Council members took account of a report issued on Tuesday by UN-appointed monitors on a number of allegations of weapons deliveries that they could not independently verify but which remained "suspicious". The report also said the governments of neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda as well as the government of the DRC, had not yet provided the monitors with adequate information.
Uganda and Rwanda denied the findings.
The civil war in the DRC officially ended in 2003 but the army of the transitional government of the DRC and the UN mission there, known as MONUC, are still trying to control many areas, particularly in the east, from various armed groups.