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US takes helm of troubled 'blood diamond' monitor
US assumes chairmanship of troubled international 'blood diamond' monitor
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The United States is taking over the leadership of the international body charged with monitoring and preventing the sale of blood diamonds, just a month after a major human rights watchdog quit, accusing the group of refusing to address links between gems, violence and tyranny.

The State Department announced on Thursday that it had named career diplomat Gillian Milovanovic to serve as chair of the Kimberley Process, which is supposed to keep blood diamonds off the market. It groups the diamond industry, rights groups and 75 countries to certify rough diamonds as "conflict-free" to assure purchasers they are not funding violence.

Rights group Global Witness left the body in December, alleging it had failed in Ivory Coast, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Its departure raised questions about the credibility of the process.

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