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Leaders of U.S. diamond and jewellery sector mull on stance on KP
Agenda focuses on U.S. policy on KP certified rough diamond exports
By: Diamond World News Service
Oct 1 2010 12:38PM
Reference: 5361  


In preparing to attend the Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting in Jerusalem, Israel during November, leaders of the U.S. diamond and jewellery sectors convened at a meeting at the State Department in Washington, D.C. The agenda focused on the U.S. policy concerning Kimberley Process-certified rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe, and prospects for reforming the structure and operation of the Kimberley Process forum. "The degree to which the current U.S. administration is engaged in the Kimberley Process is most evident," said Moshe Mosbacher. president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York.

The meeting was attended by diamond and jewellery industry leaders, representatives of the U.S. government and civil society, Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State Robert Cekuta from Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, Susan Page from African Affairs and Dan Baer from Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. It was chaired by Jose W. Fernandez, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, who is responsible for U.S. economic sanctions policy and the combating of terrorist financing.

" Moshe Mosbacher added, "Assistant Secretary Fernandez is planning to attend the KP Plenary in Jerusalem, and that will be the highest level U.S representation at such an event ever since very early days of the Kimberley Process."

"We most certainly welcome the readiness of the State Department to consult with the membership of our country's diamond and jewellery sectors," Mr. Mosbacher continued. "Our position is steadfast. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is the most effective means available for preventing the infiltration of conflict diamonds. If this is done properly, consumer confidence in diamond jewellery will remain high, and revenues from rough diamond exports will serve to support the development of communities in the regions where diamonds are mined."

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It is very encouraging to see the U.S. State Department becoming involved in this issue. The Kimberley Process (KP) is at a critical juncture. If the KP doesn't insist on transparency in the Marange diamond fields -- and an end to the human rights abuses -- it will lose any chance of preserving its credibility going forward. KP reform needs all the support it can get. Now that the State Department is involved, it has a responsibility to be vocal about the need for the KP to change course. - GK, www.brilliantearth.com
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