U.N. Suspects Ivory Coast Diamonds-for-Arms Link

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(Rapaport…November 17, 2005) The United Nations Security Council special group assigned to the Ivory Coast [Côte d’Ivoire] concluded that the country’s exports lack transparency, and specifically said that illicit diamond exports “could buy banned weapons.”

At present, exporting diamonds is illegal from the Ivory Coast and “there is no credible evaluation of current export volumes,” to which the report calls upon the United Nations and Kimberley Process Secretariat to investigate “blood diamonds used to buy illicit arms off the market.”

“Ivorian diamonds may enter the Kimberley Process supply chains, thus threatening the credibility of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme,” the report warns.

Investigators said that the Ivory Coast’s National Armed Forces cooperated, but that the director general of customs failed to assist the team. The rebel Forces nouvelles (FN) failed to cooperate adequately and hindered the investigation in the Seguela region.

The report urges the Security Council to request an audit of Ivory Coast cocoa production and to list weapons inventory.

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