WDC Seeks Compromise With Congress on Conflict Diamond Bill

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(Rapaport…March 19, 2001) The World Diamond Council (WDC) is seeking compromise legislation that would merge the Council’s conflict diamond bill with the legislation recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Tony Hall of Ohio.

On March 7, Rep. Hall, along with 101 co-sponsors, introduced the Clean Diamonds Act to eliminate the trade of diamonds used to fund rebel conflicts in Africa. The WDC has drafted its own bill to ban conflict diamonds.

“We are looking forward to merging the two pieces of legislation into one,” said Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the WDC. “Our intentions are the same and our differences can be worked out with a little bit of good will.”

Izhakoff noted that the nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) NGOs that have lobbied for conflict diamond legislation should be included in any discussions of a compromise bill. “It’s a natural partnership,” said Izhakoff, “and it’s something we have envisioned from the beginning.”

Debra DeYoung, a senior aide to Rep. Hall, said that the congressman “will welcome the industry’s best efforts to move an effective bill into passage.”

In a related development, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan visited the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) last week and was briefed by its top executive members about the conflict diamond situation. Stabenow said she would help to educate other members of the Senate regarding the diamond industry’s perspective on the issue and inform them about Rep. Hall’s legislation in the House of Representatives.

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