White House Sanctions Seven Connected with Diamonds for Arms

150 150 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo welcomed sanctions against seven people believed to have fueled conflict in the region in part by trading diamonds for arms. On October 30, President George W. Bush signed executive orders to block property of those involved in contributing to conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Democratic Republic of the Congo government spokesman Henri Mova Sakanyi told the Associated Press that, “It’s a good thing for us that the international community is beginning to sanction those who financed the war.”

“Without help from outside, the war wouldn’t have lasted as long,” Sakanyi said.

Those named in the sanction order include:

  • Laurent Nkunda, 39, founder, National Congress for the People’s Defense
  • Ignace Murwanashyaka, 43, president, Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Rwanda
  • Khawa Panga Mandro, 33 former president, Party for Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo
  • Viktor Anatolijevitch Bout, 39, owner, Great Lakes Business Company, Compagnie A rienne des Grands Lacs; Bukavu Aviation Transport, and Business Air Services
  • Sanjivan Singh Ruprah, 40, diamond dealer
  • Dimitri Igorevich Popov, 45, general manager, Great Lakes Business Company and Compagnie A rienne des Grands Lacs
  • Douglas Mpano, 44, manager, Great Lakes Business Company and Compagnie A rienne des Grands Lacs

President Bush wrote that he “determine that the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability and was addressed by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 1596 of April 18, 2005, Resolution 1649 of December 21, 2005, and Resolution 1698 of July 31, 2006, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”

The order effectively blocks all properties and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, including their overseas affiliates.

Specifically the order addresses goods directly or indirectly supplied, sold, or transferred to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or those that have been within  the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo such as arms and related material, including military aircraft and equipment, or advice, training, or assistance, including financing and financial assistance, related to military activities.

According to various press reports it was not clear what if any property the seven hold within the United States. In one Russia media report Bout stated that he is innocent. Bout told Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, he did not supply arms to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and that the United States was trying to explain away failed foreign policy aimed at settling conflict in central Africa.

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