De Beers, WDC congratulate South Africa on its KP stewardship

Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of the De Beers Group, congratulated the South African Government on successfully steering the Kimberley Process over the last three and half years. In Sun City, South Africa, Oct. 29-31, members of the Process agreed on measures that will provide a voluntary “peer review” system for rough diamond export procedures around the world.

“This week, in Sun City, representatives of over 70 countries, leaders of the diamond industry and members of the NGO community have once again achieved significant progress, this time on the important issue of practical and credible monitoring of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme,” Oppenheimer said.

“It is fitting that this success should mark the end of South Africa’s remarkable stewardship of the Kimberley Process. Under President Mbeki’s visionary leadership, Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka grasped the initiative to inaugurate this bold endeavour. Since then, the Process has gone from strength to strength under the skilful and responsible chairmanship of Mr. Abbey Chikane.

“I know that I speak on behalf of everyone in the international diamond industry when I offer not only my congratulations on their achievements, but also my sincere thanks for making such a success of the Kimberley Process, often under difficult circumstances.”

Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council also extended his organization’s praise of the KP’s unanimous agreement that he says will “ensure” credibility of the KP scheme.

“The WDC would like to take this opportunity to salute the tremendous work done by South Africa in first initiating and then chairing the Kimberley Process during its critical formative stages with such commitment and skill, and Mr. Abbey Chikane, in particular, for his patience, vision and diplomatic prowess,” Izhakoff said in a separate statement.

At the meeting, Canada was unanimously selected as successor to South Africa to lead the Kimberley Process. In addition, the Russian Federation was selected as vice-chair, the first occupant in that position.

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