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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Belgium Prime Minister says his country supports a ban on Russian diamonds as part of sanctions

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BRUSSELS (AP) – The prime minister of Belgium, which has the biggest stake in the global diamond trade within the European Union, wants to ban Russian diamonds as part of sanctions targeting President Vladimir Putin’s government over its war with Ukraine. He said he supports it.

This became clear during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Brussels on Wednesday.he has repeatedly requested such a move. Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.

For months, the Group of Seven (G7) and the European Union have been looking for ways to track trade in Russian diamonds and prevent them from evading sanctions. According to various estimates, Russia exports about $4 billion worth of rough diamonds a year, about a third of the world’s total.

Asked when the ban would come into effect, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said: “The target is… January 1, 2024.”

According to the Antwerp World Diamond Center, the world’s most important diamond trading center, 84% of the world’s rough diamonds are traded in Belgian cities, making Belgium the world leader in Russian diamonds. It is the most important gateway to the

“It took so long because we want to avoid the diamond ban being circumvented,” Decroo said, sitting next to Zelenskiy.

“If you only trade in the wholesale market, you will be traded to other diamond centers around the world,” he added. “And we will continue to have it in our stores, and it will make no difference to Russia. It is this complete traceability and complete ban on the retail market that will allow Russia to go to war with these diamonds.” It’s the only way to make sure we don’t raise money.”

Diamond imports from Russia to the EU have so far been unaffected by the 27-nation coalition’s measures, which have hit many sectors of Russia’s economy, including lucrative gas and oil.

In Belgium, the diamond sector accounts for 6,600 direct and 26,000 indirect jobs and has an annual trade value of $37 billion. Diamonds account for approximately 5% of Belgium’s total exports to the EU and 15% of its exports outside Europe.

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Follow AP’s war coverage. https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine





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