U.N. council considers Ivory Coast diamond embargo

France proposed a United Nations diamond embargo on Ivory Coast on Thursday to stop rebels from using the gems to buy guns, Reuters reports.

France added the ban on diamonds to a draft U.N. Security Council resolution, which would also renew sanctions against individuals that had been adopted earlier but not imposed, Reuters reports.

If the resolution is passed, the diamond embargo would take effect immediately, imposing penalties on anyone caught dealing in Ivorian gems, Reuters reports. The 15-nation security council has already placed an arms embargo on the Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast has been cut in two since a 2002 civil war launched by rebels who tried to oust President Laurent Gbagbo.

U.N. and French peacekeepers police a buffer zone between the rebel-held north and government-held south.

The West African nation mines about 300,000 carats of diamonds per year, largely in the rebel-controlled north, according to Global Witness, which studies how the sale of natural resources funds conflicts.

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.

In the meantime, 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.

The security council voted more than a year ago to impose targeted sanctions—including a travel ban or a freeze on assets—against any government or rebel leader found to be blocking the peace process.

That threat of sanctions was due to run out on Dec. 15. The Security Council is expected to decide on renewing the sanctions plan and proposed diamond embargo next week, Reuters reports.