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UN extends arms embargo

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NAIROBI, 19 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council extended an embargo on arms and military financing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday, to include a travel ban on violators and the freezing of their assets.

Security Council resolution 1596, adopted unanimously, condemned the continuing illicit flow of weapons into eastern DRC, which it said, "continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region".

"The resolution bans military equipment for any recipient in the DRC, except to those police and soldiers who make up the country's national army, and those arms used for technical training and for [MONUC]," Fred Eckhard, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said on Monday in New York.

The resolution called for Annan to select a group of four experts to monitor the ban - which extends the original embargo of 2003 - and to add a fifth expert to deal with financial matters.

These experts, as well as the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, were to "focus their monitoring activities in North and South Kivu and in Ituri" - areas in the east and northeast of the country where fighting continues despite a peace agreement in 2003.

The Council also asked states bordering the DRC to monitor aircraft and pilots, especially those travelling to eastern Congo.

Annan's team of experts would monitor the embargo until 31 July, when, the Council said, it would review progress made in the peace process and political transition.


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