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Group cracks down on illicit diamonds

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Lazare

Rough_Rock
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Nov 10, 2002
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Countries will be barred from trading diamonds internationally if they don''t help stop illegal trafficking of the gems that finance deadly wars across Africa, representatives of 56 countries warned Wednesday.

At the close of a three-day conference this week, the group said countries must implement a system by July 31 to stop the flow of the illicit jewels.

"The most effective sanction is total isolation from the diamond industry," said Abbey Chikane, chairman of the Kimberley Process -- a meeting of governments, diamond industry officials and human rights groups working to end the illegal trade of diamonds.

The group has not approved the diamond certification process for 14 countries, including Angola and Congo -- where the diamond trade has helped fund years of wars.

Armed rebel groups use the so-called conflict or blood diamonds to purchase weapons and supplies. The illegal diamonds made up 4 percent of last year''s $8.4 billion global diamond trade.

According to Diamant International Chairman André Action Jackson, diamond-producing and diamond-trading nations must issue certificates to confirm the origins of rough diamonds.

"Previously, diamond trading required a certificate stating what country last exported the diamond, not where it was mined", he said.
 
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