(Rapaport…February 14, 2002) Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) spoke at a Senate hearing on February 13 and urged passage of conflict diamonds legislation. Sen. Gregg cited a Washington Post report published in November that linked the trade of conflict diamonds to al-Qaida terrorists. The United States House of Representatives passed a compromise version of the Clean Diamonds Trade Act (HR 2722) last November. It now awaits a vote by the Senate. If passed, it would then go to a congressional committee for approval, and then back to congress for final passage before heading to the president’s desk for his signature.
John Leigh, ambassador of Sierra Leone to the U.S., also spoke at the hearing, calling on Senators to pass the bill, which would help downtrodden African citizens who are exploited by criminals and terrorists for financial gain.