Reps. Hall and Wolf Commend GAO’s Conflict Diamond Report

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(Rapaport…June 24, 2002) Representatives Tony Hall (D-Ohio) and Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) on June 19 commended the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report on conflict diamonds, “Critical Issues Remain in Deterring Conflict Diamond Trade,” saying that the “damning report validates the concerns of Global Witness, Partnership Africa Canada, and their coalition partners.” The Congressman called for renewed efforts to pass conflict diamonds legistlation that will ensure American consumers that their diamond purchases are conflict free. Last November, the Conflict Diamonds Trade Act won House support by a 408-6 vote, but it has since stalled in the Senate.

The GAO report was critical of several points contained in the Kimberley Process guidelines, especially its reliance on voluntary participation.

“It is clear that the Kimberley Process remains a work-in-progress, one with serious design flaws,” Hall said. “This initiative is erecting a stop sign that is needed, but its effectiveness will be determined by how vigorously it is enforced. That task falls primarily to governments. It is made more urgent by the mounting evidence that the diamond trade has been infiltrated not only by those who commit terrorist acts against Africans, but also by al-Qaida and others whose targets are America and Americans.”

The GAO report is available online at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02678.pdf.

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