Press Release

Security Council

4813th Meeting (AM)



Resolution 1501 (2003) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this morning authorized the emergency force deployed in May to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide assistance as the United Nations mission is reinforced and deployed in and around the town of Bunia on 1 September.  That assistance is intended to ensure a smooth transition as the United Nations mission assumes the responsibilities of the force, which should complete its withdrawal by 15 September.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1501 (2003), the Council acted on the recommendations of the Secretary-General, who, in his 14 August letter (document S/2003/821), said such a contingency was needed in case the situation in Bunia became volatile during the transition period.  Also in the letter, he noted that preparations for the deployment by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) of a brigade-size force in Bunia were well under way, and the deployment of an infantry battalion from Bangladesh was expected to be completed by 15 August.  That battalion will join the Uruguayan battalion already there, and they are to take over from the Interim Emergency Multinational Force on 1 September.

The Multinational Force, with France as its lead nation, was deployed to Bunia to stabilize the tense situation in the area until the United Nations Mission called for reinforcement.  Under the resolution authorizing the Force, the Council also authorized the Secretary-General to deploy, within the overall authorized MONUC ceiling, a reinforced United Nations presence to Bunia, and requested him to do so by mid-August.

Also by that text, 1484, which was unanimously adopted on 30 May, the Council stipulated that the Force was to:  contribute to the stabilization of the security and humanitarian situation in Bunia; ensure the protection of the airport, as well as the internally displaced persons in the camps in Bunia; and, if the situation requires it, participate in the protection of the population, United Nations personnel and the humanitarian presence in town.

On 28 July, the Council adopted resolution 1493, extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission there until 30 July 2004, raising its authorized military strength to 10,800, and instituting a 12-month arms embargo over areas in the eastern part of the country.  For the first time since the United Nations Mission was established in November 1999, the Council put it in the context of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and authorized “all necessary means” to fulfil its mandate in the eastern part of the country -- the Ituri district and in North and South Kivu –- where armed conflict continues.

The meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 10:18 a.m.


The full text of resolution 1501 (2003) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions and statements of its President on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1484 and 1493 (2003),

Reaffirming its commitment to respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all the States of the region,

Deeply concerned by the continuation of hostilities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the district of Ituri, as well as in the provinces of North and South Kivu,

Reaffirming its support to the peace process and national reconciliation, in particular through the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC),

Reaffirming also its support to the Interim Emergency Multinational Force deployed in Bunia in accordance with resolution 1484, and stressing the need to ensure the best conditions for transfer of authority from the Force to MONUC, on 1 September 2003, to contribute in the most efficient way possible to the continuing stabilization of Ituri,

Having taken note of the letter sent by the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, dated 14 August 2003 (S/2003/821), and of the recommendation it contains,

Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.      Approves the recommendation contained in the Secretary-General's letter of 14 August 2003;

“2.      Authorizes the States members of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force, within the limits of the means at the disposal of those elements of the Force which will not yet have left Bunia before 1 September 2003, to provide assistance to the MONUC contingent deployed in the town and its immediate surroundings, if MONUC requests them to do so and if exceptional circumstances demand it, during the period of the Force's disengagement which should last until 15 September 2003 at the latest;

“3.      Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

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