Liberia relaunched its diamond trade on Tuesday after the United Nations lifted an embargo, hoping the revival of the industry will fund reconstruction rather than lead to more bloodshed.
The ban on Liberian diamonds, imposed in 2001 when so-called "blood diamonds" were being used to fuel civil wars in west Africa, was lifted by the United Nations three days ago. The U.N. cited steps taken by the country toward joining an international program to certify the diamonds' origin and ensure they were mined legally.
At a ceremony in the northwestern town of Tubmanburg on Tuesday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urged Liberians to keep the sanctions lifted by embracing the international certification system, called the Kimberley Process. Group members agree to trade only certified diamonds.
Liberia's diamonds came under U.N. sanctions in May 2001 when Taylor's government was accused of using revenue from diamonds to fuel the war in Sierra Leone. Taylor, who went into exile in August 2003, faces war crimes charges stemming from his alleged backing of Sierra Leone's rebels who terrorized victims by chopping off their arms, legs, ears and lips.
Liberia is still subject to an arms embargo, a travel ban on named individuals, and an asset freeze against Taylor and his top officials.
Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2007, 11:05