Nobody in Belgium needs Russian “blood diamonds” any extra, however the subsequent spherical of EU sanctions nonetheless will not ban them.
“Consumers do not need to purchase diamonds with blood on them,” mentioned Vicky Reynaert, a Belgian left-wing MP.
“Everybody is aware of what’s being completed with the cash by Alrosa [Russia’s biggest diamond firm] — it is going on to finance the struggle against Ukraine”, she mentioned.
Reynaert spoke to EUobserver after a Belgian parliament committee, on Tuesday (25 April), backed her decision calling for the Belgian authorities to assist an EU-wide embargo on Russian stones.
The customers 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 final result, the MP mentioned. “Everybody agrees with our reasoning,” she mentioned.
The decision is non-binding, however shall be an “vital sign” exhausting for Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo to disregard, she added.
Belgium’s diamond market in Antwerp hoovers up 40 % 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, previously, mentioned he would not veto an EU-level ban.
But, on the identical time, Belgian diplomats have argued it could 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.
Poland and the Baltic states had proposed an EU diamond ban within the subsequent spherical of Russia sanctions, anticipated in May.
But this was unlikely to fly given the G7 concept and even Poland was making use of little strain to make it occur, one EU diplomat mentioned.
For Reynaert nonetheless, the EU and G7 embargoes ought to come on prime of each other.
“Let’s do each,” she mentioned.
“We need to be clear — this commerce in Russian diamonds depends on Alrosa, which is a part of the Kremlin. The Kremlin owns 33 % of it,” she added.
“We know it is financing the struggle. And it is troublesome 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 mentioned.