U.S. official talking ‘blood diamonds’ with Israel

WASHINGTON (JTA) – A top U.S. official is traveling to Israel to discuss trade with a focus on conflict diamonds.

Jose Fernandez, the assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, arrived in Israel on Monday for a two-day visit, the State Department said in a statement.

“During this visit, Assistant Secretary Fernandez will meet with government officials and business community representatives to discuss U.S.-Israel bilateral and regional economic issues and conflict diamonds, respectively,” the statement said.

Israel, a major diamond-cutting center, has been a leader in the Kimberley Process, the grouping that seeks to cut off the trade in “blood diamonds” — diamonds mined and stolen by rebels and pariah governments to fund wars.

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