By Ashley Bailey
, Saturday, May 05, 2007
Liberia has been admitted to the Kimberley Process following an assessment mission led by the European Commission, along with representatives from Botswana, industry and civil society. This development, along with the UN Security Council’s decision to lift the diamond embargo on Liberia on April 27, means Liberia will now be able to export its rough diamonds legally to other Kimberley Process countries.
The country has been under UN sanctions for six years. Kimberley Process officials have visited Liberia for the past three years to provide guidance on implementing controls on diamond production and trade to prevent conflict diamonds. The Security Council adopted resolution 1753 this year, lifting the diamond embargo, based on the progress made.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner welcomed today's developments, saying, "This first concrete achievement of the Kimberley Process in 2007 demonstrates the Commission's commitment to move forward in ensuring that diamond trade promotes peaceful development rather than fuels conflict.”
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, said, "This is a very important step for the development of Liberia, paving the way towards the country's reintegration into the international diamond community and marking the very end of any potential future financing of the war by blood diamonds. Moreover it is a formal recognition by the International Community that the efforts deployed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the field of Governance are producing the expected results and I praise such efforts."
The Process will continue to support and monitor Liberia closely post-admission. This leaves Côte d’Ivoire as the only country subject to UN diamond sanctions.