G7 to discuss diamond trade with future Russia sanctions in mind, EU official says
John Irish –
HIROSHIMA, Japan, May 18 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations will discuss how to trace Russian diamond trade at a summit this week with the aim of imposing restrictions at a later stage, an EU official said on Thursday.
“You can expect this to be mentioned in the G7 communique,” an EU official told reporters in a briefing.
The official said there would not be an agreement at this stage, but he was confident that talks between leaders in Hiroshima, Japan, between May 19-21 would open the door to putting a tracing mechanism in place before restrictions were implemented.
Poland in April presented a proposal for a new set of sanctions on Russia for waging war against Ukraine, including oil and diamond imports, but the debate over the precious gems has been complex in the European Union.
While some states have called for sanctions, Belgium – home to the world’s biggest diamond trading hub in Antwerp – has rejected restrictions.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has said sanctions would take away some 30% of its business and benefit rival trade hubs, adding clients should be allowed to decide themselves if they wanted Russian gems.