The following speech was delivered by Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman of the United States Department of State on January 2, 2003.
The United States has worked intensively over two years through the Kimberley Process to combat the conflict diamonds trade. The United States is committed to ending the use of rough diamonds by rebel groups to fund insurrections against internationally recognized governments, and atrocities against civilian populations.
In the Interlaken Declaration of November 5, the United States joined 47
other governments pledging to eliminate conflict diamonds from international trade beginning January 1, 2003 through the implementation of a global rough diamond certification system. The United States will begin putting this scheme into effect on this date with the voluntary issuance by the U.S. diamond industry of Kimberley certificates to accompany rough diamond export shipments.
We have determined that full implementation of the Kimberley Process recommendations can best be achieved through legislation. Consultations with Congress have confirmed our shared commitment towards stopping the conflict diamond trade. We will work expeditiously with Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible in 2003. In the interim, we will seek measures to ensure the certification scheme is consistent with World Trade Organization requirements, in accordance with the provisions of the Interlaken Declaration.
Philip T. Reeker
United States Department of State