UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to lift a ban on Liberian diamond exports imposed in 2001 when so-called “blood diamonds” were being used to fuel civil wars in west Africa.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, the current council president, said the vote was “a recognition of the progress made in Liberia” to ensure diamonds are mined legally.

The vote is “a reflection of our confidence in that country, in its leadership,” Jones Parry said.

Liberia applied March 27 to join the Kimberley Process, a voluntary 71-nation group created out of the furor over diamond-funded wars in Sierra Leone and Angola.

The group, whose members agree to trade only certified diamonds, has helped conflict diamonds drop to less than 1 percent of those sold worldwide, from about 4 percent previously. (continue reading…)

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