Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash and bourse management hosted the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, his ministers, staff of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel's Ambassador in Sierra Leone at the exchange.
The IDE's CEO, Eli Avidar, welcomed the president, his ministers and the Israeli Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Paul Hirschson.
Yoram Dvash thanked President Koroma for honoring the Israel Diamond Exchange with a visit. "Israel and Sierra Leone share a long tradition in the diamond sector. Sierra Leone was a key country in developing and promoting the Kimberley Process and we thank you for that. IDE members visiting Sierra Leone feel safe and that is not something that we take for granted.
"We invited you, President Koroma, to visit the rough diamond conference that we held in Israel in 2008, but you were unable to attend and sent your deputy to represent you. We want to invite you to visit us during the World Diamond Congress which will be held in Israel in 2018. We would be happy if you would be our guest of honor at the Congress. Thank you for coming to visit the Israel Diamond Exchange."
President Koroma thanked President Dvash for his hospitality, and said: "We are pleased to be here today. The invitation in 2008 arrived 45 days after I was elected president so I couldn't make it. This time I am here. The diamonds in Sierra Leone are God's gift to the country, and we are glad we have business partners. Sierra Leone has known difficulties but we have dealt with them and come through them reinforced and we are full partners in the Kimberley Process and diamond trading is being conducted successfully.
"There are opportunities to develop diamond deposits in the country. Although some mining deposits are depleting, there are still kimberlite dykes that are worth exploiting and can be highly worthwhile. We want to continue to be active in the diamond sector and market our special diamonds. Investing in Sierra Leone will provide a return on investment, and Sierra Leone will also receive its fair share from its diamonds. This is a situation where everybody profits. Our government has come to Israel to promote and strengthen our relationship with the State of Israel in all fields."
Israel's Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Paul Hirschson, who accompanied the President's visit to Israel, said, "Sierra Leone has business opportunities, and in the capital, Freetown, one feels safe and it is pleasant to walk around. The Israeli Embassy and its team are ready to help all Israelis with projects."
After the ceremony, the President and his entourage were taken on a tour of the trading hall and the Technology Division of the exchange.