International Campaign to Stamp Out Conflict Diamonds

Advances in Brussels



Apr 27, 2001, 01:00 ET from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium

    BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives of 38
 governments meeting in Brussels this week made significant strides toward
 creating an international certification system to stop illegal trafficking in
 conflict diamonds.
     The meeting, part of the Kimberley Process, had an in-depth discussion of
 the elements necessary to create an effective and workable system for keeping
 tainted diamonds from conflict areas out of the legitimate supply chain.  The
 group is on track for formal adoption of minimum acceptable standards for
 certificates at the next Plenary in Moscow in July.
     Named for the South African locale where it began, the Kimberley Process
 intends to complete its work by the end of this year when it will report back
 to the United Nations, which adopted a resolution in December 2000 calling for
 development of solutions to the conflict diamond problem.
     In addition to the government delegates, the meeting was attended by
 representatives of the World Diamond Council, the SADC (Southern African
 Development Community) the European Commission, the World Customs
 Organization, the chairmen of the UN Sanctions Committees for Angola and
 Liberia, and a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).   The
 participants represent countries with significant roles in the mining,
 processing and importing of diamonds.  The World Diamond Council, representing
 all segments of the industry, was created to combat traffic in conflict
 diamonds.
     At the Brussels meeting, April 25-27, participants continued detailed
 deliberations on minimum acceptable standards for an international
 certification system for rough diamonds.  Initial discussions centered around
 the national certification schemes in place in Angola and Sierra Leone, and
 the preliminary results submitted by countries to a detailed questionnaire on
 their import and export controls for rough diamonds.
     The Diamond High Council (HRD), the representative organization of the
 Belgian diamond business, played a key role in evaluating the certification
 programs in Angola and Sierra Leone, and in developing the questionnaire in
 cooperation with the Belgian Government.  Members also received a report on
 Sierra Leone's certification system from Global Witness, one of a number of
 NGOs whose constructive participation was welcomed at the conference.
     Delegates broke into two working groups to examine different aspects of
 the problem.  One group considered certification questions, such as producer
 country certificates of origin and pre-export controls.  The second examined
 issues from the perspective of importers, users and re-exporters of rough
 diamonds, and considered minimum standards on specific issues such as free
 zones and goods of mixed origin.
     A number of papers are being prepared for the Moscow meeting covering such
 topics as minimum standards for alluvial diamonds, problems facing countries
 that both produce and import diamonds, and bureaucratic burdens that
 certification schemes may impose.
     The Brussels meeting was the first in a Kimberley Process "Roadmap" laid
 out by the group at its last meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, Feb. 13-16.  Plans
 call for four more sessions before the planned UN presentation at the end of
 the year.
     Belgium hosted and co-chaired the meeting.
 
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SOURCE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium
    BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives of 38
 governments meeting in Brussels this week made significant strides toward
 creating an international certification system to stop illegal trafficking in
 conflict diamonds.
     The meeting, part of the Kimberley Process, had an in-depth discussion of
 the elements necessary to create an effective and workable system for keeping
 tainted diamonds from conflict areas out of the legitimate supply chain.  The
 group is on track for formal adoption of minimum acceptable standards for
 certificates at the next Plenary in Moscow in July.
     Named for the South African locale where it began, the Kimberley Process
 intends to complete its work by the end of this year when it will report back
 to the United Nations, which adopted a resolution in December 2000 calling for
 development of solutions to the conflict diamond problem.
     In addition to the government delegates, the meeting was attended by
 representatives of the World Diamond Council, the SADC (Southern African
 Development Community) the European Commission, the World Customs
 Organization, the chairmen of the UN Sanctions Committees for Angola and
 Liberia, and a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).   The
 participants represent countries with significant roles in the mining,
 processing and importing of diamonds.  The World Diamond Council, representing
 all segments of the industry, was created to combat traffic in conflict
 diamonds.
     At the Brussels meeting, April 25-27, participants continued detailed
 deliberations on minimum acceptable standards for an international
 certification system for rough diamonds.  Initial discussions centered around
 the national certification schemes in place in Angola and Sierra Leone, and
 the preliminary results submitted by countries to a detailed questionnaire on
 their import and export controls for rough diamonds.
     The Diamond High Council (HRD), the representative organization of the
 Belgian diamond business, played a key role in evaluating the certification
 programs in Angola and Sierra Leone, and in developing the questionnaire in
 cooperation with the Belgian Government.  Members also received a report on
 Sierra Leone's certification system from Global Witness, one of a number of
 NGOs whose constructive participation was welcomed at the conference.
     Delegates broke into two working groups to examine different aspects of
 the problem.  One group considered certification questions, such as producer
 country certificates of origin and pre-export controls.  The second examined
 issues from the perspective of importers, users and re-exporters of rough
 diamonds, and considered minimum standards on specific issues such as free
 zones and goods of mixed origin.
     A number of papers are being prepared for the Moscow meeting covering such
 topics as minimum standards for alluvial diamonds, problems facing countries
 that both produce and import diamonds, and bureaucratic burdens that
 certification schemes may impose.
     The Brussels meeting was the first in a Kimberley Process "Roadmap" laid
 out by the group at its last meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, Feb. 13-16.  Plans
 call for four more sessions before the planned UN presentation at the end of
 the year.
     Belgium hosted and co-chaired the meeting.
 
     http://www.diplobel.org/news
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X11581016
 
 SOURCE  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium