Liberia Joins Kimberley Process, Now May Export Rough

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RAPAPORT… Serving as 2007 chair of the Kimberley Process, the European Community admitted Liberia as a participant on May 4, 2007, following an assessment made by an expert mission sent to the country. 

The mission, led by the European Commission together with representatives from Botswana, industry and civil society, went to Liberia in March 2007 and concluded that it met the conditions for admission. 

Following the UN Security Council’s decision on April 27 to lift its diamond embargo on Liberia, and today’s admission to the Kimberley Process, Liberia will now be able to export its rough diamonds legally to other Kimberley Process Members. 

The Process will continue to support and monitor Liberia closely post-admission.  This leaves Côte d’Ivoire as the only country subject to UN diamond sanctions.

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner welcomed today’s developments, saying, “This first concrete achievement of the Kimberley Process in 2007 demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to move forward in ensuring that diamond trade promotes peaceful development rather than fuels conflict. 

“Liberia’s admission into the Kimberley Process shows the confidence of the international community in Liberia’s new path. The Kimberley Process community has worked closely with the government of Liberia and the United Nations to get to this important milestone, and I am sure I speak for the entire Kimberley Process community, when I say that we are committed to continue working closely with Liberia to ensure its diamonds never again cause conflict.”

Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, said, “This is a very important step for the development of Liberia, paving the way towards the country’s reintegration into the international diamond community and marking the very end of any potential future financing of the war by blood diamonds.  Moreover it is a formal recognition by the International Community that the efforts deployed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the field of Governance are producing the expected results and I praise such efforts.”

Liberia has been subject to UN diamond sanctions for six years, as a result of its civil war, financed in large part by the smuggling of conflict diamonds from Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone. 

Kimberley Process experts visited Liberia in 2005, 2006, and 2007 to advise Liberia on implementing effective controls on diamond production and trade designed to prevent conflict diamonds.  The most recent team found that Liberia had designed effective controls in line with Kimberley Process requirements, and reported its findings to the UN Security Council.  Based upon the progress made by Liberia, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1753 (2007) lifting the diamond embargo.

The team made a number of recommendations to Liberia and Kimberley Process bodies to ensure conflict diamonds are excluded from Liberia’s trade, as well as recommending to continue providing support and training to Liberia.

Kimberley Process participants and observers, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Canada, Sierra Leone, and the World Diamond Council, as well as the UN Mission in Liberia and the UN Development Programme, have worked closely with the Liberia to advise, train and equip the Government Diamond Office and its officials.

The European Commission is committed, as chair of the Kimberley Process in 2007, to support effective implementation of controls by all participants and to deepen its already close co-operation with the UN to promote peace and security in Africa.

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