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Russia: Diamond Producer Says New Deal Reached With De Beers

Moscow, 13 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's main diamond producer Almazy Rosii-Sakha (ARS) says it has reached a deal with South Africa's De Beers for export of Russian uncut diamonds.

Quoting an ARS press release, Interfax says the agreement has still to be approved by the Russian government.

Officials at De Beers in Moscow have not confirm the agreement and have said negotiations were continuing.

The ARS press release said the agreement covered not only the sale of Russian diamonds to De Beers but also the rules defining how the two sides would cooperate on the world diamond market.

ARS mines about 1,200 million dollars worth of uncut diamonds a year and is the sole authorized Russian uncut diamond producer. Its previous agreement with De Beers expired at the end of 1995 but was extended until De Beers warned on January 1 that unless a new deal is ratified by Moscow, it would unilaterally stop buying Russia's uncut diamonds.