updated 10/29/2008 7:04:57 PM ET 2008-10-29T23:04:57

Ivory Coast will stay under an arms embargo and sanctions will continue on its diamond trade at least until a repeatedly delayed presidential election is held, the U.N. Security Council decided Wednesday.

The 15-nation council unanimously approved a resolution drafted by France that extends for another year the bans on selling arms to the once-stable West African nation and against buying the rough diamonds pulled from its mines.

Council members said the situation in Ivory Coast "continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region."

But the council also agreed to revisit the issue once Ivory Coast — the world's No. 1 cocoa producer — holds a legitimate presidential election. The review would come "no later than three months after the holding of open, free, fair and transparent presidential elections in accordance with international standards," it said.

A top election commission official in Ivory Coast said earlier this month that a Nov. 30 presidential ballot was being postponed indefinitely due to difficulties in registering voters.

Years of civil strife
The election is crucial to ending hostilities that have torn apart what was once one of Africa's most affluent nations.

Ivory Coast suffered a coup in 1999 and tensions over the rights of immigrants and minority ethnic groups fueled a coup attempt that sparked civil war in 2002. Fighting split the country in two, with rebels holding the north and the government controlling the south.

Five years later, the two sides signed a peace deal and formed a power-sharing administration. The promised election also was part of a 2007 peace deal signed by Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, who is expected to seek re-election, and rebel chief Guillaume Soro.

That accord made Soro prime minister and began the demobilization of troops.

But restoring a functioning democracies is proving difficult. Disarmament is going slowly. Identifying citizens eligible to vote remains a challenge. Militias still control large parts of Ivory Coast, and a 9,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in place since 2004 is needed for security.

The U.N. arms embargo was imposed in 2004 following violations of the cease-fire agreement and the diamond trade restrictions were added in 2005.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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