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Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting Ends With Stalemate

Hirsch: 'We will relentlessly continue pursuing an agreement'

Nov 7, 2010 5:17 AM   By Kimberley Process
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Press Release: The 8th annual plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process  presided over by Israel as chair was held between November 1–4, 2010. The meeting was attended by hundreds of delegates representing more than 70 countries, as well as human rights organizations and diamond industry groups. In spite of intensive efforts by all parties involved, the plenary was not able to reach an agreement regarding the export of diamonds originated in the Marange region of Zimbabwe. 

Considerable differing views among participants have prevented the plenary from reaching a consensus-based conclusion as to whether Zimbabwe has in fact implemented the minimum Kimberley Process minimum standards in the diamond fields of Marange. As a result, the plenary meeting was adjourned without reaching an agreement on this matter.   

 Boaz Hirsch, chair of the Kimberley Process, said: "Despite rigorous negotiations, regrettably the Kimberley Process members were not able to bridge the gaps among them and were unsuccessful in their efforts to reach an agreement regarding the contentious issue of the Marange diamonds. We are, however, committed to reach a consensus that will enable Zimbabwe to restore its diamond exports within the Kimberley Process framework. Achieving such a consensus is a formidable task, yet it is a task that lies at the heart of the Kimberley Process. We will relentlessly continue pursuing an agreement."

In spite of the setback regarding the Marange diamonds, the plenary did acknowledge that the Kimberley Process should continue evolving in order to maintain its credibility and effectiveness. Accordingly, the plenary adopted significant initiatives designed to streamline the operations of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. First among those is a commitment to enhance the cooperation between the Kimberley Process and the WCO, as coordinated efforts of both establishments are crucial for the global fight against the smuggling of conflict diamonds. Additionally, in order to abate the potential financial damage inflicted by disputes concerning shipments of non-conflict diamonds, a sub-working group on trade facilitation conferred with the authority to advice on the resolution of such disputes was created. Lastly, the plenary decided to establish an ad-hoc committee tasked with the responsibility to explore measures of enhanced technical support to the Kimberley Process chair aimed at facilitating his day-to-day administrative needs. 

Hirsch, who also serves as Israel's chief international trade negotiator, added: "All Kimberley Process participants have recognized that in order for the process to be able to handle the ever-growing challenges on its doorstep, certain reforms must be implemented. I consider the decisions adopted by the Plenary concerning these issues to be a significant step in the right direction."  

The plenary welcomed the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the incoming chair for 2011.

Speakers during the plenary's concluding session expressed their highest regards to Hirsch for his immense contribution to the Kimberley Process during his tenure as chair. The administrative decisions adopted concerning the facilitation of the Process are landmark achievements that will serve as Israel's legacy   for years to come.   

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Tags: Boaz Hirsch, Kimberley Process
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