The UN Security Council lifted the diamond trade ban against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday and reduced its arms embargo.
In 2005, the diamond embargo was declared because the stones were being used for funding the rebel group “Forces Nouvelles”. The Ivory Coast government controls the south of the country, while the rebel group controls the north. In 2007, rebel leaders were brought in to the country’s administration as a result of a peace deal. However, the country still remains divided.
According to UN experts, the ban was not able to stop illicit trafficking of diamonds. The UN also said that the illicit trade of diamonds in the Ivory Coast is valued between $12 million to $23 million per annum. Figures from the European Union show that the country extracts 50,000 to 300,000 carats of diamonds each year.
In 2002, the rebel group staged a coup against former president Laurent Gbagbo, but the coup failed. In 2010 to 2011, the country was again facing turmoil, which almost resulted in a civil war when President Alassane Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in the elections.
At present, The Kimberley Process is being used by the Ivory Coast’s diamond trade. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established in order to prevent conflict diamonds from making their way to the rough diamond market.
With the easing of the diamond and arms embargo, the UN Security Council will no longer prevent the “importation by any state of all rough diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire” based on the nation's adherence to The Kimberley Process.
What is the Kimberley Process?
The Security Council stated that Ivory Coast’s government should now take the initiative to equip and train their security forces. They also urged the country to hold a Kimberley Process review of their diamond industry, which must be done within 9 months.
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