Liberia lifts moratorium on diamond mining

The Liberian government has lifted a self-imposed moratorium on the mining, sale and export of diamonds that had been in place for six years, officials said Saturday. Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Kpandeh Fayia told The Associated Press that, "as of Monday, people can start applying for mining, selling and broker licenses" for the stones. Liberia's diamonds came under United Nations sanctions in May 2001, when ex-President Charles Taylor's government was accused of using revenues from the stones to fuel war in neighboring Sierra Leone. In an effort to show compliance, the Liberian government placed a moratorium on all mining activities across the country. The UN lifted the sanctions in late April, citing steps taken by the country's postwar government to ensure regulation.