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EU Proposes Ban on

CNN/ Reuters
July 26, 2000

The European Union on Wednesday proposed banning imports of "conflict diamonds" from Sierra Leone, bringing the bloc into line with a U.N. embargo on the gems that fuel civil war.

The EU's executive European Commission said the ban, which must still be approved by the bloc's Council of Ministers, would cover all rough diamonds that lacked a certificate of origin issued by the Sierra Leone government. A statement said the European Union could enforce sanctions if the ban were breached.

The United Nations Security Council agreed earlier this month to impose a global embargo on diamond exports from Sierra Leone to try to cut off revenues to rebel forces there. The U.N. resolution banned all rough diamonds until Sierra Leone could set up a proper certification system for the stones.

Military sources in Sierra Leone told Reuters that the threat of sanctions was already helping to stem the trade. The proposed EU ban would run until January 5, 2002.

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