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Liberia: UN hands over control of diamond certification office to Government

Liberia: UN hands over control of diamond certification office to Government

Less than a week after the Security Council lifted its sanctions on the export of “blood diamonds” from Liberia, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the West African country today handed over a regional diamond certification office to the Government.

At a ceremony in Tubmanburg, about 50 kilometres west of the capital Monrovia, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) chief Alan Doss transferred control of the regional office to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In Monrovia, the Government Diamond Office at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy was also dedicated today.

“These events mark another major milestone in Liberia’s turn away from violence and conflict and its return to the community of law-abiding States,” Mr. Doss said, adding that he hoped the handover in Tubmanburg would help to revitalize the country’s legal diamond industry.

On Friday the Council lifted its six-year-old embargo on the export of diamonds from Liberia that was introduced to stop proceeds from the sale of these so-called “blood diamonds” from fuelling wars across West Africa.

Council members agreed that Liberia has made enough progress towards establishing the necessary internal controls to satisfy the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process to justify ending the embargo. But the 15-member body also agreed to review its decision to lift the embargo within 90 days.