Permanent Mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations


Illicit traffic of natural resources is the main source of funding of conflicts in the Great Lakes


Rafael Ramirez, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations stated, during the Security Council Open Debate on Prevention and Resolution of Conflict in the African region of the Great Lakes, that the illegal traffic of natural resources, such as gold, is one of the main sources of funding of conflicts.
“It is important to mention that since 1990 until today, there have been at least eighteen armed conflicts funded directly from the illegal extraction and trading of natural resources. Therefore, the most “appropriate” natural resources for funding of conflicts are those that can be easily extracted, hidden, and sold. In many cases, armed groups do not need to carry out the extraction directly, but they receive the funds from the illegal taxation of trade and transit in exporting routes” stressed Ramirez.
The Open Debate held this Monday was presided over by Georges Pinto Chicoti, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Angola; along with the participation of Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Smail Chergui, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security; Saidi Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; and Vijay Pillai, World Bank's Country Manager for the African Region.
Ramirez stressed the need for the international community to support the strengthening of the institutional capabilities of countries affected by the illicit exploitation of resources, such as gold, coltan, and diamonds, so these can regain sovereign control of their natural wealth.
On the other hand, the Venezuelan diplomat highlighted the efforts of regional organizations for the consolidation of democracy through popular will and peace in the region.
“We would like to underscore the efforts of the Central African States and regional organisms for the consolidation of peace and democracy. In this regard, we welcome the elections held in the region in the past couple of months. We encourage the international community to accompany and respect the sovereign decision of citizens in the selection of their authorities, by avoiding the usual practice of interference in the internal affairs of the countries. Moreover, we advocate for national stability and reconciliation to overcome any political or security difficulty that may rise, and to solve their differences in the framework of political negotiations”.
Ramirez reiterated the support to African nations in their efforts to consolidate peace, as well as economic and social development of their peoples.