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African nation backs legal diamond trade

The Central African Republic (CAR) has joined the Kimberley Process, a global initiative to end trade in so-called "blood diamonds", the country's leader General Franc

Last Modified: 08 Jul 2003 21:55 GMT

Bozize decision blow to illegal trade in diamonds

The Central African Republic (CAR) has joined the Kimberley Process, a global initiative to end trade in so-called "blood diamonds", the country's leader General Francois Bozize said on Tuesday.

  

The CAR is committed to the Kimberley Process and agrees to abide by it through transparent management of its diamond sector by fighting against fraud in mining and violations of the rules, Bozize said in the capital Bangui.

 

The Kimberley Process is an international initiative, backed by the United Nations, aimed at breaking the link between legitimate trade in diamonds and "blood" or "conflict diamonds" - rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

  

Bozize, who came to power in a coup on 15 March, also vowed to improve the profitability of CAR's mining sector.

  

Bozize had, in the aftermath of coming to power, promised  to combat the "mafia" behind the crucial diamond sector, which brings in half of CAR's foreign exchange.

 

Fraudulent practices

  

CAR is the world's fifth largest producer of diamonds, officially exporting some 500,000 carats of the precious stone every year.

  

Due to fraudulent business practices however, at least twice that amount arrives in the world’s diamond trading capital Antwerp (Belgium) from CAR each year.  

 

CAR's alluvial diamonds are reputed to be of excellent quality and highly prized by jewellers.

Source:
Agencies
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