Blood Diamonds: Russia "to Legalize Exports" from CARFebruary 13, 23
(IDEX Online) - Russia says it is planning to help legalize alluvial diamond exports in the Central African Republic (CAR), the world's fifth poorest country.
Alexander Bikantov, Russia's ambassador to (CAR) told the state-run Sputnik news agency that "revenues from diamond sales would allow Bangui (the country's capital) to solve the existing set of social and financial problems."
CAR has been gripped by a bloody civil war since 2012 and has been mired by blood diamond allegations. It was suspended by the Kimberley Process (KP) in 2013 and partially reinstated two years later.
Diamond exports from 16 zones in the north and east of the country, controlled by armed rebel groups, remain banned. Those from eight other zones are permitted.
Almost all diamond mining in CAR is artisanal, providing income for as many as 90,000 miners.
The Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries is active in CAR and ambassador Bikantov said last month that there were that 1,890 "Russian instructors" in the country, a number that was likely to increase.
"Bangui and Moscow agree that the current embargo regime is unfair," Bikantov told Sputnik.
"It seems that some major players are strongly opposed to increasing the volume of rough diamonds from the CAR in the world market."
CAR exported 50,443 carats, generating a revenue of $7,359,116 in 2020, according to the latest available figures from KP. According to Sputnik, exports during 2022 rose to 115,000 carats.
Pic shows CAR's capital Bangui