UN-mandated effort on conflict diamonds makes progress in latest meeting

UN-mandated effort on conflict diamonds makes progress in latest meeting

Wrapping up a meeting today in Belgium, representatives of 38 governments have made significant strides towards creating a certification system to stop illegal trafficking of diamonds to fuel armed conflicts, in accordance with a United Nations resolution calling for solutions to the problem.

Hosted and co-chaired by Belgium, the meeting in Brussels is "on track" for formal adoption of minimum acceptable standards for certificates at its next plenary in Moscow in July, according to a statement issued today by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Cooperation.

The meeting - which is part of the "Kimberley Process" - discussed the elements needed to create a system for keeping tainted diamonds from conflict areas out of the legitimate supply chain. 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 UN.

In addition to the government delegates, the meeting was attended by representatives of the World Diamond Council, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), 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. 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.