The United Nations (UN) Security Council voted unanimously last week to lift a ban on rough diamond exports from the Ivory Coast.
In a resolution adopted at UN Headquarters in New York, the 15-member Council unanimously agreed to terminate sanctions imposed in 2005 on rough diamond exports originating from Ivory Coast. The decision was made "in light of progress made towards the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) implementation and better governance of the sector," reports the UN News Service.
The resolution requests that the country updates the Security Council's Sanctions Committee on its progress in implementing its action plan to develop its diamond sector, including enforcement of illegal smuggling and reporting from financial flows of diamonds, adds the news source.
After Ivory Coast's 2002-2003 civil war, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution in November 2004 to impose various sanctions on the country, including a ban on its rough diamond exports. A second civil war erupted in 2011 after the country's then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede defeat upon losing the 2010 presidential election to Alasanne Ouattara. In May 2013, the Security Council unanimously voted to extend for another year its embargo on rough diamond exports from Ivory Coast, among other sanctions. They had remained in effect until the end of April.
Last year, the UN Security Council had said it would review the country's rough diamond export ban in line with the Ivory Coast's progress towards compliance with the KPCS. At its November plenary in Johannesburg, the KPCS recognized that Ivory Coast had, indeed, fulfilled the KPCS minimum requirements "as possibly could be achieved under the UN embargo."
Though the Ivory Coast is now free to trade in diamonds, UN experts, in charge of monitoring compliance with the sanctions regime including an arms embargo, issued a report last month, prior to the Security Council's lifting of sanctions, asserting that diamonds were being exported from the country in violation of the ban, according to Reuters.