Russia’s largest diamond producer thwarts move to redefine ‘conflict diamonds’

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Russia, backed by Belarus, the Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali, has torpedoed a Western-backed proposal to debate whether or not diamonds finance battle forward of a world battle diamonds assembly in Botswana. Reuters present.

The rift within the Kimberley Course of (KP), which certifies exports of tough diamonds, threatens to paralyze the unanimous decision-making physique.

The messages, which haven’t been beforehand reported, present a dispute over a proposal by Ukraine, the European Union, Australia, Britain, Canada and the US to debate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether or not the Kimberley Settlement definition of battle diamonds must be expanded to incorporate authorities actors on the June 20-24 assembly in Botswana. .

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The US and Britain have already imposed sanctions on Russian President Russia (ALRS.MM), the world’s largest producer of tough diamonds, which accounted for about 30% of worldwide manufacturing final 12 months, and is partly state-owned. Learn extra

The draft agenda dated Could 20 included a one-hour time interval for discussing the problem, however the merchandise was eliminated after objections from Russia, Belarus, the Central African Republic (CAR), Kyrgyzstan and Mali.

“We discover ourselves in a bind,” Botswana Communist Celebration chief Jacob Thamagi advised individuals – which embody 85 international locations and representatives from trade and civil society organizations – in a letter dated June 9 urging them to seek out widespread floor.

The Kimberley Maas Settlement defines battle as jewels used to fund insurgencies in search of to undermine reliable governments.

Formally marking Russian diamonds as “battle diamonds” requires a broadening of the definition. The KP . Civil Society Coalition was Connection For such a change for years, together with some member states of the Kimberley Settlement.

The certification scheme, designed to stamp out the commerce in so-called “blood diamonds,” was instituted in 2003 within the wake of devastating civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which had been funded largely by the unlawful diamond commerce.

Russia’s Kimberley delegate mentioned in a Could 20 letter that the scenario in Ukraine “has no implications” for the Kimberley Course of and is “outdoors the scope” of its ratification plan.

Belarus, Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan, and Mali have all equally argued that the proposal was “political” or outdoors the scope of the Kimberley Settlement, and that its inclusion on the agenda was inappropriate. The 4 international locations supported Russia within the current vote of the United Nations Normal Meeting.

The war-torn Central African Republic is the one nation on the earth that’s presently topic to a partial ban within the Kimberley Settlement on exports of tough diamonds. Russia, with which it has shut commerce and safety ties, has labored to carry these restrictions.

Mali additionally enjoys shut relations with Russia. Lots of of Russian navy contractors have been deployed there for the reason that starting of this 12 months to assist the federal government battle the rebels.

“If the Kimberley Course of is to be a dependable guarantor that diamonds exported with a Kyoto Protocol certificates are certainly conflict-free, it can’t refuse to contemplate the legitimate questions which have been raised about whether or not tough diamonds exported by Russia are financing its invasion of Ukraine,” wrote Canada’s Ioana Sahas Martin to KP chief earlier this month.

In a letter to the president on Monday, Communist Celebration of Ukraine consultant Andrey Tkalenko proposed two amendments to the certification scheme: to increase the definition to incorporate authorities companies, and to permit KP international locations, by a majority vote, to expel a rustic that infringes one other. Honorable KP member.

Britain, the European Union and the US have additionally mentioned Russia ought to step down from the Communist Celebration committees it presently chairs. Learn extra

“Failure to take any motion would undermine the credibility and integrity of the Kimberley Course of not solely as a battle prevention mechanism but additionally as a mechanism for regulating commerce,” mentioned Marika Lauzo Mousnier of the European Fee in a letter.

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(Protecting) Helen Reed Enhancing by Imran Abukar, Sandra Mahler and Mark Potter

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