RAPAPORT… The U.S. State Department hosted a meeting with members of the diamond trade to discuss ways to enhance the relationship between government and the trade. The meeting follows the recent Kimberley Process plenary held in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), during which the Kimberley Process agreed to approve rough exports from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields, breaking a long-standing deadlock on the issue.
”Participants in the meeting discussed increasing challenges the industry faces in how it responds to concerns regarding the practices underlying its supply chain,” the State Department stated. ”Participants acknowledged these challenges are most pronounced in the way the industry meets expectations in key consuming markets, necessitating this type of dialogue between industry and government.”
The U.S. will chair the Kimberley Process for 2012 and South Africa will serve as vice chair.
The meeting, which took place in Washington DC on Friday, November 17, was arranged at the invitation of Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. Participants included Genoveva Ruiz-Calavera, head of the Unit for Crisis Response and Peace Building of the European Commission and members of the diamond industry led by Eli Izhakoff, president of the World Diamond Council (WDC).
The State Department explained that a separate meeting, which included the current Kimberley Process chair from the DRC and the South African delegation, focused on the state of the Kimberley Process in light of recent developments and emphasized the commitment of all to the members and the need for continued progress and cooperation among all stakeholders.