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UN Lifts 12-Year Arms Embargo on Ivory Coast

  • VOA News

Ivory Coast soldiers stand at guard during a ceremony to honor soldiers killed in last month's al-Qaida attack on the beach resort town of Grand Bassam, in Abidjan, April 8, 2016.

Ivory Coast soldiers stand at guard during a ceremony to honor soldiers killed in last month's al-Qaida attack on the beach resort town of Grand Bassam, in Abidjan, April 8, 2016.

The United Nations Security Council removed a 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast on Thursday and renewed the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country for another year.

The embargo was imposed in 2004 after the West African country's 2002-2003 civil war.

The resolution, passed on a unanimous vote, welcomes an ongoing dialogue among all Ivorian political parties and the improvement of the human rights situation. It also strongly condemns the March terror attacks at the Grand Bassam beach resort that killed at least 19 people.

There are currently some 6,900 U.N. troops and police in Ivory Coast, according to the U.N. website. The resolution states those forces will leave by the end of April 2017.

The United Nations will then have two months to complete the mission's closure.

Additionally, the council removed an asset freeze and travel ban on six people, including former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is on trial before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

The council had eased the arms embargo on Ivory Coast in 2014 and removed a ban on its diamond exports, a measure that U.N. experts said failed to stop illicit trafficking.

The U.N. experts monitoring the embargo said earlier this year that Ivory Coast rebel leader-turned-parliament speaker Guillaume Soro used the 2011 civil war and its aftermath to acquire hundreds of tons of weapons, many of which remain under the control of his loyalists in the army.

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