The reports on the alleged links between diamonds and terrorism are probably a main reason that the House recently approved a bill recently that seeks to stem the sale of “conflict diamonds.”
The House voted 408-6 for the bill, a compromise measure reached earlier in the week by House lawmakers and the Bush administration, and supported by the diamond industry. A companion bill introduced in the Senate is expected to pass.
“This bill will go a long way in saving lives,” Rep. Tony Hall, D-Ohio, who sponsored the bill, told fellow lawmakers during debate Tuesday.
The bill requires certification of the origin of imported diamonds and allows the president to sanction countries that have not tried to control the diamond trade.
While the original bill called for automatic sanctions, the Bush administration worried that such a law could alienate countries working with the United States on its war of terrorist. The World Diamond Council, the umbrella organization for the industry, fully supports this bill.
Matthew A. Runci, president and CEO of Jewelers of America, said, “This is not a perfect bill — and in some ways not as strong as earlier versions — but it is a giant step in the right direction and one that will have a significant effect in taking the profit out of trading in conflict diamonds.”