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Kimberley Process Meeting Ends in Impasse

Jun 24, 2010 11:15 AM   By Deena Taylor, Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT...  Update at 11:50 a.m. in New York:  An intersessional meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP) closed this afternoon in Tel Aviv, following an extended discussion on Zimbabwe's rough diamond exportation compliance. According to a statement posted on the Facebook page of the KP, "In question was the continued implementation of the joint work plan  agreed upon at the plenary meeting in Swakopmund, Namibia in November 2009."  (Read the full statement.)

The KP concluded that its members could not reach consensus regarding the implementation of that work plan and the work carried out by the plan's monitor, Abbey Chikane. As such, the meeting ended in an impasse. Chairman  Boaz Hirsch, along with the chair of the working group on Zimbabwe, Stephane Chardon, and Eli Izhakoff, the president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), were said to have "played a pivotal role in attempting to breach the gap between the sides."

"This situation is unprecedented at the KP meeting," declared Hirsch, "but all parties are committed to further engagement. The KP is based on a partnership between governments, the diamond industry and the civil society. I am committed to that end and I have asked Mr. Izhakoff to jointly convene within the WDC Annual Meeting coming up on July 14 to 15 in St. Petersburg, a mini-summit of the KP major stakeholders. Deliberations will continue in order to find a consensus-based resolution."

Posted Thursday, 6:00 a.m. in New York:

Discussions over whether to allow Zimbabwe’s to export diamonds from the Marange with KP certificates resumed in Tel Aviv at 1 p.m. local time today, after the working group failed to reach consensus overnight.

The KP's intersessional meeting, which began Monday, was scheduled to close on Wednesday. But discussions remained in a deadlock when delegates adjourned early Thursday morning.

Delegates have been debating whether to accept the recommendation made by the KP monitor for Marange, Abbey Chikane, which qualifies that the country met certification minimum standards and should be granted permission to export rough. 

Comments observed from the meeting indicate that most African member countries, along with Brazil, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Russia and India, are ready to endorse rough exports from Zimbabwe, while the U.S., European Union (E.U.), Australia and Canada feel that Zimbabwe has not been fully compliant and thus has not fully implemented the joint working plan agreed upon in November.

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Tags: Abbey Chikane, Australia, China, Compliance, Conflict Diamonds, Deena Taylor, Avi Krawitz , European Union, India, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, Namibia, Russia, World Diamond Council, Zimbabwe
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