Israel to lead fight against “blood diamond” trade

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Israel is set to lead a group working to stop militants in Africa using the roughly $6 billion trade in so-called blood or conflict diamonds to fund fighting, the Israel Diamond Institute said yesterday.
Boaz Hirsch of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour, was elected as chairman of the Kimberley Process, set up in 2003, at a meeting in Namibia last week, it said.
Since 2003 trade in conflict diamonds has dropped to 1 percent from 15 percent of the world’s $60 billion trade in rough diamonds, the institute said.
A United Nations panel of experts said last month that Israel, whose diamond trade is worth more than $10 billion, may be involved in the illegal export and sale of blood diamonds from Ivory Coast. Israeli officials rejected the accusation.