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Russia: DeBeers Signs Agreement With Diamond Firm

Moscow, 21 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's main diamond concern Almazy Rossii-Sakha (ARS) and the South African-based diamond cartel De Beers signed a new agreement today in Moscow, ending months of friction over Russian diamond exports.

Under terms of the agreement, Russia will sell at least $550 million in rough gems a year through the De Beers' Central Selling Organization until the end of next year. ARS described the deal as a compromise in which Russia won some concessions.

In a statement, ARS said a joint observation committee would permit both sides to monitor the market, and Russian cutters would be allowed to attend site sales. Earlier this year, De Beers sharply curtailed the amount of diamonds it bought from Russia after Moscow failed to approve a new gem export agreement.