No one in Belgium desires Russian “blood diamonds” any extra, however the subsequent spherical of EU sanctions nonetheless will not ban them.
“Shoppers do not need to purchase diamonds with blood on them,” stated Vicky Reynaert, a Belgian left-wing MP.
“Everyone is aware of what’s being carried out with the cash by Alrosa [Russia’s biggest diamond firm] — it is going on to finance the conflict towards Ukraine”, she stated.
Reynaert spoke to EUobserver after a Belgian parliament committee, on Tuesday (25 April), backed her decision calling for the Belgian authorities to help an EU-wide embargo on Russian stones.
The shoppers in Reynaert’s focus teams apart, Belgian MPs additionally voted unanimously in favour.
And a plenary vote in two weeks’ time is predicted to ship the identical end result, the MP stated. “Everyone agrees with our reasoning,” she stated.
The decision is non-binding, however will likely be an “vital sign” laborious for Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo to disregard, she added.
Belgium’s diamond market in Antwerp hoovers up 40 p.c of Russia’s €4bn diamond exports, creating 10,000 jobs.
The Belgian international ministry couldn’t be reached for touch upon Wednesday.
De Croo has, prior to now, stated he would not veto an EU-level ban.
However, on the similar time, Belgian diplomats have argued it might see the Russian gems go to Dubai and India as an alternative, costing the Kremlin nothing.
And as an alternative, Belgium has proposed a G7-level scheme to hint and cease purchases of battle stones by the seven rich international locations that management the lion’s share of the world market.
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Poland and the Baltic states had proposed an EU diamond ban within the subsequent spherical of Russia sanctions, anticipated in Might.
However this was unlikely to fly given the G7 thought and even Poland was making use of little strain to make it occur, one EU diplomat stated.
For Reynaert nevertheless, the EU and G7 embargoes ought to come on high of each other.
“Let’s do each,” she stated.
“We have now to be clear — this commerce in Russian diamonds depends on Alrosa, which is a part of the Kremlin. The Kremlin owns 33 p.c of it,” she added.
“We all know it is financing the conflict. And it is tough to clarify to different financial sectors in Belgium why they need to observe EU sanctions, struggling losses, however the diamond sector is doing nothing in any respect,” the MP stated.