US, Canada dismiss KP endorsement of Zim diamonds

Canada and United States of America have rejected a statement issued by the Kimberley Process chairman that Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange diamonds could now be traded through the world diamond body, arguing there was no consensus on the decision.

The KP issued an administrative statement that a compromise had been reached at the KP Intercessional Meeting held June 20-23 2011 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The department spokesperson in Washington, Victoria Nuland, said the US believes that progress with respect to exports from Marange could occur solely through a mechanism agreed to by consensus among KP participants.

Nuland said the US was disappointed with the Kinshasa meeting related to Zimbabwe, as it has been a supporter of KP in the past and desires to find a way forward that preserves the credibility of the process.

“We believe that work toward a solution must continue, and that until consensus is reached, exports from Marange should not proceed,” Nuland said.

“We remain ready to work with the Kimberley Process chair and others to find a solution. The Kimberley Process works best when producers and consumers are collaborating and when civil society is an active participant.

“The US would like to ensure the Kimberley Process’s future and enable diamond exports to contribute positively to the region’s people and economy.”

She said despite the continued challenges surrounding Marange, the US welcomes collaborative efforts toward effective diamond sector governance demonstrated during the intercessional by a number of diamond-producing countries, such as the Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea and Liberia.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister John Baird said contrary to the chair’s notice, key concerns were not addressed and Canada, and like-minded states, did not endorse the proposal submitted by the chair.
“The notice was issued in contravention of rules and procedures of the Kimberley Process.

“We are advising the Canadian diamond industry against trade in Marange diamonds,” he said.

Baird said in light of the Zimbabwean military’s brutal crackdown on miners in December 2008, Canada continues to call for supervised exports from two Marange mines and a credible monitoring arrangement.

“Without these systems in place, Canada refuses to go along with the plan to certify Zimbabwe’s diamonds,” said Baird.

“All diamond-producing countries stand to lose if the Kimberley Process is rendered ineffective. Canada will continue to work to address the fundamental weaknesses of the Kimberley Process and find a credible solution that is satisfactory to all stakeholders.”

He said diamonds from Marange should benefit the people of Zimbabwe, adding it was important to ensure that diamonds are properly and credibly certified through a strong KP.

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