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KP chair seeks inclusivity as U.S push for new conflict diamond definition

15 november 2012

The Kimberley Process chairperson said that the United States’ proposal to change the definition of conflict diamonds will not be imposed on others.
Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic told the just ended two-day diamond conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe that the initiative was not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.
She said that the conflict diamond definition proposal like all others was intended to initiate discussion with other participant governments, with industry representatives, and with civil society organizations.    
“We need practical ideas and constructive suggestions in order to have a free and frank discussion that leads to a KP that is prepared for the future,” Milovanovic said.
She said the new definition would not apply to isolated, individual incidents, or to circumstances or situations in which an armed conflict exists but was unrelated to the diamond sector.
“KP safeguards should be implemented on a site-by-site basis, consistent with systems for other conflict minerals, such as that undertaken within Africa by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region,” the KP chairperson said.
She said where there was concern that a conflict was diamond-related, the goal would be to objectively assess the situation in conjunction with the relevant country.
“If the conflict does not fit the definition the issue would be closed. If the conflict does fit the definition, the approach would be to assist and resolve, not punish, and the KP would seek to help the country to rectify the situation,” Milovanovic said.
“Only if these efforts are exhausted and the problem persists would a limitation on the right to issue a KP certificate for rough diamonds originating at the concerned site be considered.
“The purpose is not to punish or exclude, but first to help a country with a problem to find solutions to fix that problem and only as a last resort move towards limitations on the issuance of KP certificates.”

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe