(Rapaport… May 8, 2003) President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Shmuel Schnitzer, announced on May 5, 2003, that he “welcomes” the July 31 deadline for countries to implement the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to continue trading diamonds in the international marketplace. The deadline was set during the three-day plenary session of the Kimberley Process, which ended in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 30.
“The original date for implementation was January 1, 2003, but we realized at the time that certain countries lacked both the physical and legal infrastructures ready to properly introduce the certification scheme,” Schnitzer stated. “Because it was in all of our interests to get as many countries on board, it was clear that a degree of flexibility was required regarding dates. But that was months ago, and by now all those governments that are serious about putting Kimberley Process systems in place should have already done so, or be in the final stages of preparation.”
Schnitzer also complimented the decision to dispatch a mission to the Central African Republic (CAR) to investigate its government’s ability to monitor the flow of rough diamonds in and out of the country: “By going out into the field to investigate charges of illegal trafficking of conflict diamonds, we are showing to the international community that we are taking this matter seriously and that we are committed to the cause. Charges were leveled against the CAR and its government invited us to come in and see things for ourselves. That’s an encouraging sign, and I hope we will be able to put the matter to rest.”