Blair’s War on Blood Diamonds a Matter of Daily Operations in UK

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RAPAPORT… Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office announced a crack-down on conflict diamonds following the release of the film Blood Diamond, but according to the United Kingdom’s Government Diamond Office all efforts to curb illegal trade are paramount and part of day-to-day business operations just the same. Number 10 Downing Street specifically stated on December 11, 2006, that the government would spearhead a new crackdown on conflict diamonds as part of the nation’s war on terrorism. 

The Government Diamond Office told Rapaport News, “There is no change in our approach at the present time although there is obviously existing, ongoing work.”

A foreign office spokesperson told Rapaport that the United Kingdom is committed to implementing the requirements of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in full, as a way of seeking to end the trade in conflict diamonds and the KPCS plays a lead role in ensuring that the mineral resources of states serve to promote sustainable development and are not used to fuel conflict or undermine democracy and good governance.

The Government Diamond Office (GDO,) which is a department within the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, is one of four authorities responsible for implementing KPCS in the European Union. “The GDO works closely with HM Revenue & Customs, the UK industry and NGOs such as Global Witness to ensure full implementation. The GDO also liaises closely with the European Commission in Brussels,” the spokesperson said.

Risk analysis is performed in cooperation with the London Diamond Bourse & Club for both exports and imports of rough diamonds. “Since the KPCS came into force in January 2003, the GDO has undertaken 98 inspections of rough diamond shipments, covering 29 different companies. Of this number, 70 have been inspections of rough diamond exports, and 22 of rough diamond imports or seizures by HM Revenue & Customs. Other inspections have been undertaken to verify a company’s rough diamond stock prior to the KPCS coming into force.”

European Union member states have seized more than 12,000 carats of rough diamonds with a value of approximately $1.5 million since 2003 the spokesperson told Rapaport.

“The UK has been fully supportive of the moves taken by both the KPCS and the UN to address the issue of illicit diamond production in northern Cote d’Ivoire. This includes full implementation of the provisions of the Moscow Resolution on Cote d’Ivoire agreed at the 2005 KPCS plenary.”


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