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Security Council lifts ban on diamond exports from Liberia
The Security Council voted today to lift its six-year-old ban on the export of diamonds from Liberia that was introduced to stop proceeds from the sale of these so-called "blood diamonds" from fuelling wars across West Africa.
In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council agreed that Liberia has made enough progress towards establishing the necessary internal controls to satisfy the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process to justify ending the embargo.
But the 15-member body also agreed to review, if necessary, its decision to lift the embargo within 90 days.
Begun in 2000 by southern African diamond-producing countries, the Kimberley Process led to the adoption in November 2002 in Interlaken, Switzerland, of the international Certification Scheme for rough diamonds, based primarily on national certification schemes and on internationally-agreed minimum standards.
Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Council presidency for this month, said after today's resolution that he was hopeful Liberia would soon fully join the Kimberley Process.
"That's a reflection of our confidence in that country [and] in its leadership, and I wish that it should now progress quickly," Mr. Jones Parry said.
Liberian Ambassador Lami Kawah said the decision "means a lot to Liberia and the people of Liberia as we move forward," adding that the Government was happy to continue with the monitoring process over its diamond trade.
Trafficking in blood diamonds is considered one of the root causes of the civil wars that have plagued West Africa, especially in Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone.
Article has been adapted from a news release issued by United Nations.