U.N. Security Council removes ban on Ivory Coast diamond exports

UNITED NATIONS Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:21am EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday partially eased a decade-long arms embargo on Ivory Coast and removed a ban on diamond exports, a measure U.N. experts claimed failed to stop illicit trafficking of rough diamonds.

The West African country, emerging from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief war in 2011, has been pressing the Security Council to end the diamond embargo that was put in place in 2005 the wake of an initial 2002-2003 civil war.

In October, U.N. experts estimated the annual value of illicit diamond trade to be between $12 million and $23 million. Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer and French-speaking West Africa's largest economy.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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