Global Policy Forum

Diamond Traders Act on Africa War Issue

Bloomberg News/New York Times
September 8, 2000

The world's biggest diamond traders said today (September 7) that they expect to set up a computerized global registry before the Christmas shopping season that will help curb the sale of gems used to finance wars in Africa.

The World Diamond Council, formed by the industry's two largest groups last July in Antwerp, said it hoped to have technical issues resolved by November so that every diamond would be guaranteed by a certificate of origin.

"We are determined to make sure this is a clean industry," said the chairman, Eli Izhakoff, as members of the organization from South Africa, Belgium, the United States, Russia, India and other diamond- trading countries held their first meeting in Tel Aviv.

Since the United Nations Security Council imposed a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone on July 6 to curb their sale by rebel forces, the diamond industry has been trying to assure consumers that the gems they buy are not being used to finance conflict.

In Washington, the House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a subcommittee hearing next Wednesday to consider its own steps against trade in so-called conflict diamonds. Mr. Izhakoff said the main element of the council's work would be to set up a database that would identify every diamond from the time it is mined until it is sold to consumers.

More Information on Diamonds in Conflict


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