U.N. bans diamond exports from Ivory Coast

he U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to ban diamond exports from the Ivory Coast, Reuters reports.

The council issued the ban in order to stop rebels in the war-divided West African nation from using gems to purchase arms, Reuters reports. The country has been divided since rebels launched a 2002 civil war in an attempt to oust President Laurent Gbagbo.

The resolution links illegal trading of Ivory Coast diamonds with the proliferation and trafficking of guns in the nation, Reuters reports. It also renewed sanctions against individuals interfering in the peace process.

“All states shall take the necessary measures to prevent the import of all rough diamonds from Ivory Coast to their territory,” the resolution reportedly said. It requires regional governments to report, within 90 days, on steps taken to stop the importation of Ivory Coast diamonds.

The resolution also renewed the threat of targeted sanctions, including a freeze in assets and travel ban, against any individual interfering with the peace process, Reuters reports. The sanctions threat would have expired on Thursday.

French and U.N. peacekeepers police a buffer zone between the government-controlled south and the rebel-held north. The council said the situation in Ivory Coast “continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region.”

Diamonds mined in northern Ivory Coast and smuggled over the border violate the Kimblerly Process.

Global Witness, which studies how conflicts are funded by the sale of natural resources, says around 300,000 carats of diamonds are mined in the West African nation each year.

Under a U.N.-backed plan, Gbagbo was allowed to remain as president beyond the Oct. 30 end of his five-year mandate until presidential elections are held.

Meanwhile, Charles Konan Banny was named prime minister, vested with powers to carry out disarmament and electoral reforms in order to organize the presidential polls by the end of October of next year.