The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) vowed to closely monitor rough imports of diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR) following recent violence in the diamond-rich region of Bria. The AWDC announced their intention along with the Kimberley Process’ working group of diamond experts, who will start collecting data to develop a footprint for diamonds in Bria, where rebel fighting for control of diamond mines reportedly left some 43 dead this month.
Various news outlets reported President Francois Bozize condemning the clashes, but he added that no one had provoked the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) into fighting and thus he was not responsible for the violence in CAR.
Separately, in New York this week the U.N. hosted the General Assembly and Cote d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara expressed his gratitude for U.N. assistance earlier this year during that country’s wave of unrest following the November 2010 polls. Cote d’Ivoire’s diamonds remain under embargo, however.
Ouattara cited his leadership efforts so far, saying, “The organization of legislative elections before the end of this year will enable the reinforcing of democracy and social justice in Côte d’Ivoire, with the aid and support of the U.N.”
The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo told the U.N. that he sought a change in director from the United Nations Organization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO), which had been helping to bring stability. President Joseph Kabila noted that, “It is imperative that the role of MONUSCO adapt in its vision and action on the ground.
”In this phase of consolidation MONUSCO must progressively abandon the strict framework of peacekeeping operations to help the country progress in its development and economic regeneration,” he added, citing among the enormous challenges still facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need to maintain its growth rate in the face of the global economic crisis.
In June, the U.N. Security Council extended MONUSCO for another year after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative, Roger Meece, reported that there have been significant improvements in security, although many challenges remained before stability could be restored in conflict-affected areas, especially in the north and east where diamonds are found.