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Ivory Coast to ‘demand’ UN lift diamond ban

March 07, 2014

Abidjan, Ivory Coast--After being deemed compliant by the Kimberley Process in November, the Ivory Coast will urge the United Nations to lift its embargo on the nation’s diamond exports at a meeting scheduled for next month, Reuters reported.

The UN’s Security Council said last year that it would review the ban on the country’s diamond trade, which was put in place in 2005 following the country’s 2002-2003 civil war, because of the steps the government was taking toward becoming KP compliant.

At the KP’s plenary meeting held in November the organization, which works to stem the flow of conflict or “blood” diamonds into the international trade, members agreed unanimously that the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) now is compliant under the Kimberley Process Certification scheme. This sent a clear signal to the UN that conditions in the country are suitable for the diamond trade to resume.

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Given this stamp of approval from the KP, Fatimata Thes, who heads the diamond sector in the Ivory Coast’s Mining Ministry, told Reuters that government officials plan to travel to New York in April to “show what efforts we’ve made and demand the lifting of this embargo, which is hurting our population.”

She said that the government now has a system in place to register diamond workers and track production, with a total of 10,000 carats stockpiled in anticipation of the end of the embargo. Lifting the ban would help the country fight poverty, Thes told Reuters.

While there are some diamond-producing nations that remain at odds with the KP, the Ivory Coast is currently the only country in the world whose diamond trade is banned by the UN.