Mbeki to Address Antwerp Diamond Conference

July 29, 2004

Mbeki to Address Antwerp Diamond Conference

Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, will be headline attraction at the 2004 Antwerp Diamond Conference and will deliver the keynote address at the conference's gala dinner on the evening of Nov. 15 at the Antwerp Expo convention and exhibition center.

The 2004 Antwerp Diamond Conference will be held Nov. 15 and 16 in the Elisabethzaal of the Flanders Congress & Concert Center, on the Koningin Astridplein, adjacent to the Antwerp Diamond District.

The 2004 Antwerp Diamond Conference will focus on the issue of consumer confidence in natural diamonds and will concentrate specifically upon the implications for the diamond business of the introduction of gem-quality synthetics into the market. The conference will address the issue in the broadest possible manner, says HRD. Topics will include the technical aspects of synthesizing stones and detecting them in the laboratory, the legal and ethical aspects, and the subject of marketing of synthetics alongside natural diamonds.

"President Mbeki has a personality with great charisma. So his first visit to Belgium will be an event worth remembering," says Peter Meeus, HRD's managing director. "South Africa also serves as a pioneer on the African continent. As one of the most important diamond producers, the issue of consumer confidence in the natural product concerns the country directly. We couldn't have had a better person than President Mbeki to set the tone at the gala dinner."

The first Antwerp Diamond Conference was held in 2002 and focused on the rough distribution diamond pipeline. The keynote speakers at the conference gala dinner in 2002 were Festus Mogae, the president of Botswana, and Al Gore, former vice president of the United States. The second conference in the series, which took place in 2003, examined the subjects of marketing and branding diamonds. Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was the keynote speaker at the 2003 conference gala dinner.

On Aug. 1, HRD will launch its 2004 Antwerp Diamond Conference Web site, which will include constantly updated information and registration details. It will be located on the web at www.diamondconference.be.

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