UN Approves Sierra Leone Certification Plan

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(Rapaport…August 10, 2000) The United Nations (UN) Security Council has given the go-ahead for Sierra Leone to begin certifying rough diamond exports, paving the way for approved exports of non-conflict diamonds from the war torn country.

Early last month, the Security Council banned the purchase of Sierra Leone diamonds without an approved government certification program. During a UN hearing last week, Sierra Leone proposed a new diamond mining and export regime, including the numbering of the certificates of origin on forgery-proof paper.

“I think this is a major step,” said Bangladesh’s UN Ambassador Anwarul

Chowdry, who chairs the sanctions committee. “It will hopefully really bring some legitimate earnings into the coffers of the Sierra Leone Government, which hopefully will be used for the well-being of the people.”

The sanctions committee wants the new certification program to start operating as soon as possible. The Sierra Leone government said it could take up to 90 days. The committee will send the government letters asking it to speed up the process and to report back in 90 days on the system’s effectiveness.

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