Industry Wants No Kimberley Delay

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(Rapaport…December 11, 2002) Diamond industry leaders recently met in London to call on all Kimberley Process countries to implement diamond certification rules on January 1 as previously agreed. Their meeting was held at a time when some British diamantaires and at least one nongovernmental organization (NGO), Fatal Transactions, have voiced concerns that the European Commission will be at least a month late in enforcing Kimberley.

Top officers from the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), World Diamond Council (WDC), International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), Belgian High Diamond Council (HRD) and De Beers reaffirmed their commitment to the Kimberley Process in London. The industry is enacting a system of self-regulation designed to complement government efforts.

“It was recognized that there are practical and diplomatic hurdles still to be overcome by governments before full implementation by all parties can be achieved,” the WDC, headed by Eli Izhakoff, said in a statement issued after the London meeting. “The diamond industry urges governments to resolve any remaining difficulties without delay.”

Fatal Transactions, a European NGO that has campaigned against conflict diamonds, recently warned that the European Union (EU) will not be able to implement Kimberley until February 1 at the earliest. The European Commission (EC) reportedly has not completed the necessary legislation or printed the required certificates.

“It is a disgrace to Europe that this deadline will pass us by simply because petty-minded quarrels between member states on the wording of the EC regulation made them postpone decisions over and over again,” said Judith Sargentini, a Fatal Transactions activist. “We again ask the Council of Ministers to do everything in their might to start effective control on January 1, 2003. Christmas holidays cannot be peaceful when Europe is prolonging the trade in blood diamonds.”

Neither an EC trade issues spokeswoman in Brussels nor an EC American delegation spokesman in Washington, D.C. had any comment in response. They could not say when the EC’s legislation would be ready or its certificates printed.

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