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Security Council votes to continue ban on rough diamonds from Sierra Leone

Security Council votes to continue ban on rough diamonds from Sierra Leone

The United Nations Security Council today voted unanimously to extend for another six months the global ban on the direct and indirect importation of all rough diamonds from Sierra Leone.

By resolution 1446, the Council also agreed that rough diamonds under the control of the Government of Sierra Leone would continue to be exempt under the Certificate of Origin regime, which was put in place in July 2000.

The Council had emphasized last year that the certification scheme is "an essential step in curbing the flow of illicit diamonds out of Sierra Leone," and welcomed the fact that reports indicated the plan was having a positive effect. "This was clear from the fact that there has been an increase in the quantity of diamonds passing through the Government's hands," the Council said at the time.

Today's resolution commended the ongoing efforts by interested countries, diamond industry and non-governmental organizations to break the link between the illicit trade in rough diamonds and armed conflict, and expressed the Council's concern at the current large volume of illicit trade in diamonds and its potential negative impact on the fragile situation in Sierra Leone and other neighbouring countries such as Liberia.

The resolution also emphasized the importance of the Sierra Leonean Government continuing its efforts to extend its authority throughout the country, including the diamond producing areas.