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UN Eases Diamond, Arms Restrictions on Ivory Coast

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The U.N. Security Council has lifted a ban on diamond exports from Ivory Coast and also moved to ease an arms embargo on the West African nation.

The council on Tuesday adopted a resolution lifting the diamond embargo that was put in place in 2005, during the country's civil war.

The arms embargo was lifted so Ivorian security forces can acquire small-caliber weapons.

Ivory Coast U.N. Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba hailed the vote. He said the U.N. recognizes his country has "fully satisfied" minimum conditions of the Kimberley Process, the system to ensure so-called conflict diamonds do not enter world markets.



"The resolution recognizes the urgent necessity of the government of Cote d'Ivoire to train and equip security forces, especially the police and gendarmerie with significant weapons and ammunition to carry out their security missions and maintaining order."





The United States backed the resolution, but Deputy Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis said the United States had favored a more gradual approach to adjusting the arms embargo.



"We recognize the government of Cote d'Ivoire's need to build capable and professional security forces. We were concerned however by the findings in the 'Group of Experts' report regarding inconsistent compliance with existing arms embargo procedures. We therefore urge Cote d'Ivoire to tighten its control over arms and ammunition."



The 2002 civil war in Ivory Coast split the country in two. President Laurent Gbagbo was eventually ousted by force after losing the 2010 presidential election.

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