At the end of a three-day meeting in South Africa, representatives of diamond exporting, processing and importing countries agreed to develop a plan to keep conflict diamonds off the international market. The plan requires all diamonds sold on the world market to have a certificate of origin.
The meeting was attended by officials of 20 countries, including the U.S., Russia, Canada and Great Britain. The officials agreed to cosponsor a resolution that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly before December, the Associated Press reports. They hope a world treaty can be created by next year, but the work to halt the conflict diamond trade will not be put on hold for ratification of the treaty.
The diamond industry and countries involved in the diamond trade are expected to begin working to stop the sale of conflict diamonds as soon as possible, British Foreign Minister Peter Hain told AP. The work is necessary to stop the flow of money to rebel groups, restore consumer confidence in diamonds and ensure the survival of the industry, he said.
According to AP, the certification system could be financed mostly by the countries involved in the diamond trade, but conference participants hope the U.N. will contribute money as well.
- by Julia M. Duncan