(Rapaport…November 8, 2001) Responding to a Washington Post article’s disclosure of Osama bin Laden’s ties to conflict diamonds, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) and Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) held a press conference on November 8 to urge immediate action on the conflict diamonds legislation pending in Congress.
“The diamond — an age-old symbol of love — is becoming part of the international currency of terrorism,” said Durbin, also a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “If we are going to cut off funds used by terrorists to carry out their attacks, we can’t ignore the millions of dollars they earn from the illegal diamond trade. That means ensuring that no diamond can make it from the bloody hands of a Sierra Leone rebel to the jewelry case at the local mall.”
Aids on Capitol Hill say the Post report has given the Clean Diamonds Trade Act bill new momentum in Congress. The House of Representatives could act on the bill as early as next week, and it could possibly be passed before the end of the year.