UN Lifts Ban on Liberia’s Diamond Exports

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RAPAPORT… The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously April 27, 2007, to lift a ban on diamond exports from Liberia. Great Britain’s ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, who is current council president, called the vote “a recognition of the progress made in Liberia” to make sure diamonds from here on out are mined legally.

Liberia’s ambassador Nathaniel Barnes added that he had learned the Kimberley Process committee would be accepting Liberia’s application as well.

The move follows calls from Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to lift the long-standing ban on diamond exports. She took office in January 2006 some five years after the ban was imposed to stop former President Charles Taylor from using revenue from diamonds to fuel war with Sierra Leone.

“We welcome the lifting of the sanctions because it will, to some extent, provide job opportunities for our people,” according to the president’s spokesperson Cyrus Badio. “This is something that we are in bad need of. Proceeds from the diamond industry will be used for the benefit of the country.”

The Security Council would review its decision in 90 days after reviewing a report by a U.N. panel of monitors in Liberia.

“This is an example of sanctions working and we’re pleased that Liberia has turned this corner in its history,” said the U.S. Mission’s deputy spokesman, Ben Chang.

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