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Expert panel named to monitor UN arms embargo in eastern DR of Congo

26 April 2004 Four experts have been named to monitor the United Nations embargo prohibiting weapons flowing to militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and, if necessary, to nearby areas of other countries.

The four are Kathi Lynn Austin of the United States, Victor Dupere of Canada, Jean Luc Gallet of France and Lon-Pascal Seudie of Cameroon.

They will focus on weapons and war materiel going to parties in the Kivus and Ituri, in the eastern DRC, that are not signatories to the DRC's Global and All-Inclusive Agreement. The Security Council resolution exempts weapons going to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and to the national integrated army of the DRC Transitional Government.

Meanwhile, MONUC chief William Lacy Swing sent letters to the Foreign Ministries of the DRC and Rwanda, expressing disquiet over movements by troops of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) from DRC's border territory into Rwanda and appealing to the two governments to coordinate their military operations on the border so as to avoid raising tensions.

The FDLR has been accused of having been among the main actors behind the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and had sought asylum in camps on DRC territory. Their incursions have been followed by the Rwandan Government sending in its troops, the Rwandan Defence Forces (FDR).

On 21 April MONUC reported sighting FDR troops in Bunagana in the DRC, when a Rwandan officer asked a MONUC patrol to withdraw from the area, Mr. Swing said in his letters Friday.

Condemning any attempts to restrict the movement of its forces in the DRC, the Mission stressed that any foreign troops on DRC territory were there illegally and that MONUC was gravely concerned about the lack of military coordination in tackling the FDLR.



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