Sunday, October 22, 2006

Security Council Votes to Maintain Diamond Sanctions

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council has voted to retain a ban on Liberian diamond exports, believed used to finance the African country's civil war.

The council called on Liberia to comply with international rules confirming the gems' origins.

Liberia's warlords have widely been believed to be financing wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone by selling more than $300 million in exploited "conflict diamonds" a year to foreign concessionaires to raise funds for weapons, the BBC reports.

The Security Council imposed arms and diamond embargoes on Liberia in May 2001, two years before the end of a 14-year civil war there.

In a May letter, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urged the council lift the sanctions so the diamond money could now be used for reconstruction.

The council said it would examine the issue again in December.


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