To stem trade in ‘conflict diamonds,’ UN Assembly urges action on certification plan

To stem trade in ‘conflict diamonds,’ UN Assembly urges action on certification plan

In a continuing bid to break the link between the illegal trade of rough diamonds and armed conflict, the United Nations General Assembly today urged countries to finalize an international certification scheme for the valuable gems and to implement the plan as quickly as possible.

The Assembly this morning adopted without a vote a resolution calling for the full implementation of existing Security Council measures targeting the illicit trade in rough diamonds that play a role in fuelling conflict.

The resolution also encourages the "Kimberley Process" to resolve outstanding issues related to initiatives established in 2000 by Southern African diamond-producing countries to stem the flow of rough diamonds used by rebels to finance armed conflict aimed at overthrowing legitimate governments.

The Process - which also includes participation by the European Community and countries that produce and trade in the stones, industry representatives and civil society - also seeks to protect the legitimate diamond industry, upon which many countries are dependent for their socio-economic development, and to create and implement an international certification scheme for rough diamonds.

In introducing the resolution to the Assembly, the representative of South Africa, Dumisani S. Kumalo, said the detailed proposals for an international certification scheme for rough diamonds developed by the Kimberley Process provided a good basis for an international diamond-control mechanism, which could help ensure effective implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds.

In other action this morning, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the review of the problem of HIV/AIDS in all its aspects. The text asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to prepare a progress report on realizing the targets set out in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted at the Assembly's 26th special session held last June in New York.