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Liberia to Begin Legal Export of Rough Diamonds

Liberiamap For more than six years, Liberia has under United Nations sanctions due to its civil war mostly funded from conflict diamonds sourced in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone Liberia.  Three years ago, the UN Security Council implemented a ban on diamonds exported from Liberia in an effort to implement the “Kimberly Process”, a multi-national effort initiated in 2000 to eliminate illegally sourced diamonds and in particular, conflict diamonds.

The illegal marketing of rough diamonds known as “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds”, was a key cause of back-to-back Liberian civil wars beginning in 1989 and the ten years of atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone which ended in 2001 after claiming over 400,000 lives.  Conflict diamonds financed bloody conflicts in other African countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Côte d'Ivoire.

On Friday (May 4, 2007), the Security Council removed the ban on Liberia’s rough diamonds and the chair of the Kimberley Process acknowledged Liberia as a participant in that process.  This means that Liberia is now able to export rough diamonds legally to other Kimberley Process members.  This leaves Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) as the only diamond producing country still subject to United Nations sanctions.

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