Panama Participates in Sixth Annual Kimberley Process Meeting

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Panama, November 17, 2008: The Republic of Panama took another step in its program to enable the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE) to become the primary diamond trading center in Latin America when, for the first time, an official representative of the country attended the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP), which took place in New Delhi, India, November 3-6, 2008.

Attending the gathering of KP members on behalf of the Panama’s government was Alberto Pinzón, the ambassador to New Delhi. He met with representatives of other member governments, international organizations and leaders of the diamond industry, and discussed his government’s commitment to upholding the principles of the KP. His presence at the event will be a critical stage in Panama’s attaininment of KP membership.

The KP is a joint effort by governments, industry and civil society to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, which are rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments, mainly in Africa. There are currently 75 member-countries of the KP. The KP is endorsed by the UN Security Council.

The participation of Panama’s representative comes on the heels of the launch of a $200 million project in Panama City in October, which will result in a dedicated high-rise complex that will house the Panama Diamond Exchange and serve as the headquarters of the diamond, colored gemstone and jewelry trades in all of Latin America.

In May, the Panama Diamond Exchange was accepted as first and only Latin American member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

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