Kimberley Process upholds CAR suspension

2013-06-07 21:06

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Johannesburg - A UN-mandated diamond watchdog on Friday confirmed the Central African Republic's suspension from global certified diamond trading after a coup in March, a spokesperson said.

The Kimberley Process, a body that prevents the international sale of so-called "blood diamonds" - gems used to finance conflicts - upheld the resolution at its conference in the South African town of Kimberley, according to spokesperson Trevor Hattingh.

"They have been suspended and it has been maintained. At present they are not complying with the requirements of the Kimberley Process," said Hattingh.

Mineral-rich but impoverished Central African Republic, one of the world's top five diamond producers, was initially suspended by the Kimberley Process last month.

The country had said on Tuesday it would halt its diamond trade pending reforms, including monitoring sales, setting up a centralised clearing house and banning cash purchases.

A rebel coalition seized power in the Central African Republic on 24 March, the latest coup in the chronically unstable nation. The leader of the Seleka rebel coalition, Michel Djotodia, assumed control after his fighters forced out former president Francois Bozize.

Established in 2003 to prevent diamonds from being illegally traded to fund conflicts, the Kimberley Process covers 99.8% of the world's rough diamond production.

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