Liberia Earns Diamond Ban Until it Ends Violations

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(Rapaport…December 21, 2005) The United Nations Security Council unanimously renewed a ban on diamonds from Liberia saying that the country’s unrest continued to constitute a threat to international peace and security. The council also re-established the panel of experts appointed to, among other things, conduct a follow-up assessment mission to Liberia and neighboring states, in order to investigate and compile a report on the implementation, and any violations, of the measures imposed.

The ban remains until it is decided peace is maintained and export transparency is established. It also welcomed the determination of the President-elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to meet the conditions for terminating the ban.

Liberia also must establish independent external advice on the management of Liberia’s diamond resources.

Under multiple provisions the Security Council wrote: “To consider, with the assistance of international partners and for a specific time period, the possibility of commissioning independent external advice on the management of Liberia’s diamond resources, in order to increase revenue and investor confidence and to attract additional donor support” the ban is in effect until at least June 2006 at which time a review would take place.

Experts must report back to the council by June their assessment on Liberia’s violations in trading diamonds for weapons.

The United Nations reports that “the main sources of potentially serious security challenges include former Armed Forces of Liberia personnel dissatisfied with their demobilization and retirement benefits, ex-combatants awaiting community reintegration opportunities, disgruntled supporters of the candidate who failed to win the November run-off elections, and members of ex-President Charles Taylor’s former armed militia, the Anti-Terrorist Unit.

Security problems in western Cote d’Ivoire also remain a potential threat to the efforts to consolidate stability in Liberia, the Council wrote.

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