Delegates from 70 countries and international groups will meet in Brussels next week to discuss progress in stamping out trade in “conflict diamonds.”
Also called blood diamonds, the rare gems are unearthed in war zones and are used to fund militant operations.
SABC News reports that the multinational Kimberly Process has successfully reduced the trade from 15 to one percent of all diamonds sold on the world market.
An opinion piece in The News, a Liberian newspaper, even notes that Sierra Leone, once riven by civil war fueled by diamond smuggling, now seeks to develop a lucrative tourist industry focused on its “spectacular” beaches.
But Reuters reports that Belgian authorities also seized 14 million euros worth of suspect diamonds in Antwerp last weekend.
China’s Xinhua news agency claims the seizure targeted the Peri Diamond company, and was a “slap in the face” of the Antwerp World Diamond Center, a leader in battle against blood diamonds.
Antwerp is home to trade in 80 percent of the world’s rough diamonds, and 50 percent of those cut and polished.
Swiss officials have turned over documents to Belgian authorities as part of an investigation into five Geneva-based firms that are accused of using fake certificates to import US$525 million in raw diamonds, the Associated Press reports.
Radio Jamaica also notes that officials in Guyana have seized “4,000 karats of smuggled diamonds,” which a “locally based international company was attempting to export to Dubai.”