Belgium Backs UN Embargo

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(Rapaport July 6, 2000) Belgium, quick to back a UN diamond embargo poised to end the trade of Sierra Leone conflict diamonds, announced it will not accept any stones from the war-torn country unless accompanied by a proper certificate of origin.

A ministry statement said, “Charles Picque, economics minister immediately instructed civil servants…based at the Diamond Office in Antwerp and in charge of delivering licenses for importing diamonds into Belgium to ban the entry of Sierra Leone diamonds without a certificate of origin.”

Since Antwerp’s $20 billion diamond industry accounts for 80 percent of the world’s rough trade, its compliance is crucial to the success of the 18-month ban.

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