(Rapaport…May 23, 2000) Eli Haas, president of the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) outlined its stance on conflict diamonds during a hearing with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Haas, who strongly supports the UN resolution 1173, which prohibits the direct or indirect import of diamonds from Angola that are not traded through Angola’s recognized government, emphasized DDC’s abhorrence of the trading and commerce of diamonds to finance civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Haas the “Hall” proposal which sought to require a certificate of origin for diamonds imported to the U.S., would neither lead to successful implementation or end the ongoing civil war. Rather, it would harm the diamond industry worldwide especially developing countries like South Africa, and Botswana, who are doing legitimate diamond businesses. “Even if it were possible to identify origins of diamonds, it would still be impossible to sort out the legitimate from the illegitimate ones,” said Haas.
As a solution Haas suggested a “proactive approach” which he said would promote “stability, accountability and transparency” in diamond trading.
De Beers, which normally purchases diamonds from areas of conflict, is in full support of the UN resolution.