The United Nations Security Council today voted unanimously to lift a ban on importing rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire and to partially lift the arms embargo, differentiating between lethal and non-lethal arms.
In a resolution adopted at UN Headquarters in New York, the Council extended until 30 April 2015 sanctions first put in place in 2004 against “the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the West African nation, from their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and any related material.”
The Council also decided to exempt from the embargo supplies to the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces who support them.
Supplies of non-lethal equipment which would enable the Ivorian security forces to use “appropriate and proportionate force while maintaining public order” would no longer require notification to the Sanctions Committee. Nor would any technical assistance, training or financial assistance used for the same purpose.
Shipment of heavy weapons will still require advance approval by the Sanctions Committee, while shipment of small calibre lethal equipment simply requires Côte d’Ivoire to notify the Committee.
The Council decided to continue financial and travel measures in place until 30 April 2015.
The changes are the result of a review of the embargo in light of progress made in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of combatants as well as security sector reform (SSR), national reconciliation and the fight against impunity.
The 15-member Council also unanimously agreed to terminate sanctions imposed in 2005 on diamond imports from Côte d’Ivoire. The decision was made “in light of progress made towards the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) implementation and better governance of the sector.”
The Kimberley Process, established by the UN General Assembly in 2003, aims to prevent so-called “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream.
The resolution also requests Côte d’Ivoire to update the Sanctions Committee on its progress in implementing its action plan to develop its diamond sector, including enforcement of illegal smuggling and reporting from financial flows of diamonds.