President Bush on Wednesday banned the import of rough diamonds from Liberia, seeking to deprive rebels in Sierra Leone of an important funding source, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Earlier this month, the United Nations imposed sanctions preventing Liberian officials and their spouses from traveling overseas and banning diamond exports. Bush’s action bolsters the U.N. move.
The U.N. Security Council leveled the sanctions to punish what it said was Liberia’s weapon- and diamond-trafficking with a brutal rebel movement in Sierra Leone, the Revolutionary United Front.
Bush cited a U.N. report that found most RUF diamonds leave Sierra Leone through Liberia and are exported elsewhere, helping fund the rebels, the AP reported.
The Liberian government has cooperated with the trade, the U.N. report found.
Before leaving office, President Clinton banned the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone.