UN security council relaxes arms embargo on DRC

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The UN Security Council adopted a resolution Tuesday relaxing the embargo on arms exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a decision hailed by Kinshasa as an “injustice repaired”.

The resolution removes language that previously required countries to inform the Security Council and its 15 members of any sale of arms or military assistance to the DRC.

Kinshasa has long deplored this requirement, saying it created an unnecessary bureaucratic obstacle in its fight against armed groups.

The DRC has been under a UN arms embargo since 2000, the decision was made at the time in response to the extent of the violence in the central African country.

In 2008, the Security Council amended its sanctions regime to apply only to armed groups.

But it still required Kinshasa to notify a monitoring committee of any arms purchases.

Earlier this year, the Security Council extended the sanctions regime but reduced the notification requirements for certain arms purchases.

Kinshasa has since continued to push for a lifting of the restrictions as the DRC faces an upsurge in clashes with the M23 militia in the east.

The Security Council had been pressed to act amid accusations that it was preventing the Congolese military from protecting civilians.

“A battle won, an injustice righted,” DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter after the resolution was adopted.

The Security Council also voted to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in the DRC, Monusco, for another year.

The M23, a mostly Tutsi armed group defeated in 2013, took up arms again late last year and stepped up its offensive in October, seizing large swaths of territory north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

Rwanda is accused by Kinshasa, the United States and several European countries of supporting the M23.

africanews