(Rapaport…April 13, 2000) In a letter to the New York Times, Jeffrey Fischer, president of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, conveyed the anguish and disgust of the international diamond industry at reports of the suffering of civilians in war-torn countries in Africa. Fischer wrote the letter in response to an article entitled “Africa’s Gems: Warfare’s Best Friend” featured recently in the newspaper. Fischer however urges calm around the issue.
“Diamonds are a natural resource that, when properly managed, have been the building blocks of African democracies. United Nations representatives and African leaders, including Nelson Mandela, have said that singling out diamonds as a cause of suffering could do more to threaten democratic diamond-producing countries than to alleviate problems in conflict zones” he writes.
Fischer assured readers that the diamond industry was “working to ensure that diamonds are not used to finance conflict.”