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U.N. Security Council set to lift Ivory Coast diamond ban

(FILES0 this file picture taken 12 June

The U.N. Security Council is set to lift a nearly decade-long diamond embargo on Ivory Coast, diplomats said on Friday, despite U.N. experts reporting that ban has failed to stop the illicit production and trafficking of rough diamonds.

The West African country, emerging from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief war in 2011, has been pressing the Security Council to end the embargo that was put in place nine years ago in the wake of an initial 2002-2003 civil war.

A draft resolution circulated among the 15 Security Council members proposes lifting the diamond embargo, diplomats said. The council is due to adopt the resolution next week.

"There is consensus on this issue," said one council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. A second diplomat said the proposal was not expected "to be controversial for council members."

Ivory Coast received a clean bill of health in November from the Kimberley Process, the body tasked with preventing the sale of so called "blood diamonds" from fuelling armed conflict.

But the U.N. group of experts reported to the Security Council this month "that the measures and restrictions imposed by the Security Council ... still do not prevent the trafficking of Ivorian rough diamonds."

"The group furthermore notes that, in spite of having identified violations of the diamond embargo in its public reports since 2006, the Ivorian authorities have made no progress in combating the smuggling of diamonds nor taken any concrete initiatives to date," according to the report.

The U.N. experts, charged with monitoring compliance with a sanctions regime including an arms embargo, have written to the Kimberley Process stating their concerns and inviting officials to discuss with them how best they could be addressed.

The experts reported that a senior Ivory Coast army officer is breaking the diamond embargo and there was "strong evidence" he was using the profits to support soldiers loyal to him within the army. The experts also voiced concern that diamond profits may be used to purchased weapons in violation of an arms embargo.

In October, the experts estimated the annual value of illicit diamond trade to be between $12 million and $23 million.

Before the embargo, Ivory Coast produced about 300,000 carats of diamond a year, valued at around $25 million, according to industry experts. Ivorian authorities have said they would like to relaunch the sector to fund post-war reconstruction.

Blood diamonds were thrust into the global spotlight in the 1990s during a succession of African conflicts where their trade financed arms purchases and resulted in human rights abuses.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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David Roberts April 25 2014 at 5:30 PM

Oh great, my wife's diamonds are going be worthless. Where is De Beers when you need them Always thought they were WAY over priced.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
weynspirit April 26 2014 at 7:51 AM

what is it with humans and jewels,for i tell you to have a good friend or a good mate, is much more valuable then any jewel or diamond, for those that seek and find them, what good are they, that you boast and show your riches as to have a big rock on your finger,all these rich people with all their gold and diamonds,what good do it do for your health , for inso much do some love them that that they might as kill you for them,if you want something beautiful, open your heart unto the world,and find the true jewels and diamonds of life, for those with much will always need more, abut those with less need but little, and once you embrace that, you see the foolishness of jewels

Flag Reply +4 rate up
BOB April 26 2014 at 7:25 AM

Pricing wont change since they will trickle into system . Diamonds have an artificial value anyway and you may as well just use a pawn shop to buy rings and stuff anyway to avoid the 500% mark up . The only thing diamond is good for is abrasive wheels to grind tools for machining .

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
IBruzEZ BOB April 26 2014 at 11:26 AM

Oh but they are so PRETTY on your finger.! LOL........

Flag Reply +2 rate up
droot53 April 26 2014 at 7:15 AM

Like they say "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS"

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Gelpi April 26 2014 at 4:44 AM

:-) thnk panda

Flag Reply +2 rate up
landslowrance April 25 2014 at 11:42 PM

The U.N. .... . ..... What They Good For?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Steve Hering April 25 2014 at 11:04 PM

Another fine examlpe of what the UN is all about. I think that someone is getting paid a lot of money to do "lift the ban".

Flag Reply +7 rate up
hrhjonii April 25 2014 at 10:15 PM

The price will not plummet , and the sudden influx of new rough will be bought up by the syndicate and let out in a trickle just as before. Nothing will change and the same people will get richer .

Flag Reply +11 rate up
chino999 April 25 2014 at 10:01 PM

What is the reason that countries that have DIAMONDS, have so many "POOR PEOPLE" inside their borders?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Karen chino999 April 26 2014 at 1:32 AM

It's because diamond dealing corporations pay a lot for the rights (but far less than they are really worth), leaving little to the country where the natural resources exist. Then, they pay the workers very little (like Walmart does), so people continue to live in poverty.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
cpenrod April 25 2014 at 6:09 PM

Another UN payoff? Why else? I sure miss a honest U.S. government. Get the U.S. out of the UN, and the UN out of the U.S.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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