Representatives from about 70 countries began meeting in Johannesburg on Monday to discuss implementation of a plan to ban the trade in illicit “blood diamonds” from war zones, organisers said. They will also consider a report from British-based non-governmental organisation Global Witness, which charges that the al-Qaeda network infiltrated diamond trading networks to raise funds for its operatives and launder money. The report, “For a Few Dollars More, How al-Qaeda moved into the diamond trade,” presents information showing how two senior al-Qaeda operatives based in Kenya and Tanzania from 1993 established diamond mining and trading companies to raise funds, the organisation said in a statement. “Blood diamonds”, defined as rough diamonds obtained by using or threatening to use coercion or military force, are exploited by many rebel movements to finance their activities, mainly in mineral-rich Africa. Full Story
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