“Growing Concern” Over Côte d’Ivoire

Two weeks back, I wrote that the Kimberley Process is turning its attention to Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), even as the Zimbabwe situation remains in limbo. Yesterday, KP chairman Matheiu Yamba sent out the following note:

The purpose of this notice is to draw your attention to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, which is a cause of growing concern for the Kimberley Process, in consideration of the risk of re-emergence of conflict diamonds in Côte d’Ivoire and an increased in rough diamond smuggling through West Africa.

Previous KP reports and UN Group of Experts (UNGoE) reports indicate that diamond mining in Côte d’Ivoire continues unabated and notes that diamonds may be leaving Côte d’Ivoire through neighbouring countries in violations of UNSC sanctions and KPCS restrictions.

I therefore call on participants of the KPCS, particularly those in the West Africa region and in the major trading and manufacturing centres, to exercise strong vigilance and ensure that all the necessary KPCS decisions are upheld in support of UN imposed sanctions to prevent Ivoirian diamonds entering participant states, and to report to the [Working Group on Monitoring] on actions taken in this respect …

It is imperative that the KPCS address this matter constructively and decisively, thereby ensuring that Ivorian diamonds do not infiltrate the legitimate trade as this could be harmful for the diamond industry as a whole. Colleagues, I have every confidence that the KPCS has the ability and the political will to tackle the challenges facing Côte d’Ivoire diamonds effectively through collective and concerted efforts …

In other Kimberley Process news, a discussion of the KP once again appeared in a WikiLeaked cable, published by the Telegraph. Unlike the last batch of cables discussing the diamond business, there is nothing particularly surprising in this note, although it does mention that U.S. diplomats consider the KP “slow” (I think we all do) and worry the Democratic Republic of Congo is the KP’s “biggest weakness.” Which is notable, since the current KP chairman is from the DRC.

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JCK News Director