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                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Okinawa, Japan)

For Immediate Release July 21,2000

Illicit Diamonds and Conflicts

The United States has spearheaded a number of initiatives to curb the trade in illicit diamonds that fuels many African conflicts and humanitarian crises -- particularly in Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During the last year, the United States and other members of the G-8 have made headway in engaging the diamond industry, diamond-producing states and other members of the international community to address this problem.

The Clinton-Gore Administration has been supportive of a variety of measures to tighten global marketing practices and to build capacity to manage the diamond sector in diamond-producing states. At the same time, the U.S. has worked hard to ensure that efforts to address conflict diamonds not harm the interests of legitimate diamond-producing states.

In particular:

          --The importance of establishing a global certification 
          scheme for diamonds;
          -- The need for a formal code of conduct to govern the
          practices of the industry, of diamond-producing states and of 
          marketing centers;
          -- The creation of an independent monitoring agency to
         supervise the implementation of the certification scheme and 
         the code of conduct;
          -- The establishment of a working group to make 
         recommendations on specific mechanisms for implementing these

The U.S. and the U.K. have led the work of the group of experts to recommend a series of steps on illicit diamonds endorsed by the G-8 Foreign Ministers at Miyazaki on June 13 and called for the issue of conflict diamonds to be included on the agenda for the G-8 meeting in Okinawa as part of an initiative on conflict prevention.

In Okinawa, the G-8 expressed special concern that the proceeds from the illicit trade in diamonds have contributed to aggravating armed conflict and humanitarian crises, particularly in Africa. The G-8 therefore called for an international conference to consider practical approaches to breaking the link between the illicit trade in diamonds and armed conflict, including consideration of an international agreement on certification for rough diamonds.