Bush Bans Liberian Diamond Imports

May 24, 2001

Bush Bans Liberian Diamond Imports

President Bush on Wednesday banned the import of rough diamonds from Liberia into the U.S. in an effort to deprive Sierra Leone's RUF rebels of a major funding source. The executive order builds on a ban on the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone, which President Clinton initiated before leaving office.

"The government of Liberia's complicity in the RUF's illicit trade in diamonds and its other forms of support for the RUF are direct challenges to United States foreign policy objectives in the region as well as to the rule-based international order that is crucial to the peace and prosperity of the United States," the order states. It can be found online at the Web site for the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010523-11.html.

In other diamond news, De Beers announced today it suspended investment and prospecting in Angola because of a lack of clarity over its legal rights in the war-torn country, the Associated Press reports. De Beers reached an impasse in its negotiations with Angola over mining rights, marketing contracts and investment guarantees. This decision leaves the Leviev group, run by Israeli-Russian businessman Lev Leviev, with exclusive rights to market Angola's diamonds.

See "De Beers and Angola Negotiate Diamond Rights" for background information about De Beers' relationship with Angola, and check back tomorrow for a more detailed look at the current situation.

- by Julia M. Duncan