Global Policy Forum

Compliance with UN Embargo Agreed

Diamond News
August 25, 2000

Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Guinea have agreed to comply with the UN embargo on the trade of gems from conflict areas by banning the importation of rough diamonds from rebel-held parts of Sierra Leone. The Swiss Economics Ministry said that Switzerland would not be hit hard by the ban since most of the rough it has imported since 1998 is from Liberia - not Sierra Leone. Liberia has been accused of fuelling the illegal diamond trade in Sierra Leone by selling diamonds smuggled into Liberia by the rebels in exchange for arms. Switzerland denies importing rough diamonds from Liberia, saying it imports only cut diamonds, which are not included in any ban.

Sierra Leone's Minister of Mineral Resources Mohamed Deen, met with his Guinean counterpart to help implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution banning the sale of diamonds not certified by the Sierra Leone government. Guinea is reported to have agreed to help block the sale of rebel diamonds from Sierra Leone by confiscating suspicious uncertified diamonds and possibly prosecuting the dealers. A joint monitoring committee comprising officials from both states is to monitor the movement of Sierra Leone's diamonds along the border between the two countries. The minister appealed that when diamonds arrive in Guinea, the local government issue a certificate as well in order to facilitate the sale of these diamonds by authorized people.

-- There will be a meeting of the SADC experts committee in Namibia on September 5 and 6, 2000. The expert group will present recommendations to the inter-governmental ministerial meeting of African governments. It is expected that these recommendations will be carried forward in the form of resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly this fall.

-- The World Diamond Council will convene in Tel Aviv September 6-7, 2000 to continue the discussions on conflict diamonds begun at the recent World Diamond Congress. The conference will be attended by officials representing the world's diamond bourses, the diamond manufacturers' associations, the diamond producing countries, government officials, bankers and prominent members of the jewelry trade. A U.S. Congressional hearing by a subcommittee of the House Ways and Means committee will hold a hearing on trade in African diamonds on September 12. Congress is considering legislation that will restrict the flow of conflict diamonds into the U.S.

-- The Conflict Diamonds Working Group will present a seminar on conflict diamonds at the Professional Jewelry Show in Las Vegas, on Saturday, September 9, 2000 at 4:30PM. Entitled "Conflict Diamonds: Training and Education for Jewelry Store Personnel", the seminar will provide the latest information and developments from around the world. Jewelers will receive the training and materials necessary to deliver their own in-store education program. David Peters, well-known educator and director of education for Jewelers of America, will present the program. The Conflict Diamond Working Group is an ad hoc industry organization created to address the issue of Conflict diamonds.

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