De Beers’ O’Ferrall Gives Conflict Diamonds Speech at Basel

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(Rapaport…April 9, 2002) The director of public and corporate affairs for De Beers, Rory More O’Ferrall, delivered an address to attendees of the Basel Watch, Clock and Jewelry Fair in Switzerland, on April 5, in which he stressed the importance of continuing to work towards combating conflict diamond trading.

O’Ferrall talked about the self-regulatory measures included in the general agreement that was reached on an international rough diamond tracking scheme at the March meeting of the Kimberley Process. O’Ferrall described it as an “equitable and transparent form of self-regulation that will not only provide assurance amongst ourselves on the origin and legitimacy of rough diamond supplies, but will — most importantly — both protect and significantly increase consumers’ confidence that the diamonds they buy as symbols of love and eternity are not tainted in any way.”

The issue of self-regulation was a sticking point among the various groups discussing the international certificate scheme at the March Kimberley Process meeting. Some participants criticized the scheme for subjecting activities to recommended controls, as opposed to mandatory ones. Other participants, however, were dissatisfied with the notion of being forced to allow outside agencies to monitor diamond trading within their home countries.

O’Ferrall’s speech also addressed the stories that have emerged in the media since September 11, linking the diamond trade to terrorist activities.

“Government sources on both sides of the Atlantic have indicated that there is no intelligent evidence to show that such a link exists,” O’Ferrall said. “It is highly irresponsible, therefore to alarm the consumer — particularly the American consumer — with unsubstantiated scare stories.”

To view the speech in its entirety, please visit http://www.debeersgroup.com/archive/transcripts/pdf/TS20020405-1.pdf

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