Governments Discuss Conflict Diamonds

October 27, 2000

Governments Discuss Conflict Diamonds

A two-day international conference of 36 countries ended yesterday in London with governments pledging to take action against conflict diamonds, the Financial Times reports.

Despite the pledge, the nations didn't endorse Great Britain's proposal for a United Nations-sponsored treaty to regulate the diamond trade. However, representatives of the attending countries say they recognize "the urgency of curbing the trade in conflict diamonds given the suffering and misery caused by the link to the illegal arms trade," the Financial Times reports. Britain's Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain, who chaired the conference, also says the conference "succeeded in broadening international consensus to act on conflict diamonds."

Also at the conference was Global Witness, a human-rights group supporting action against conflict diamonds. Representatives of the group were disappointed the governments didn't support a U.N. treaty. The government of South Africa, however, still plans to introduce a resolution on stopping conflict diamonds at the U.N. general assembly next month. Representatives from South Africa didn't attend the London conference because they weren't comfortable with the timing since it preceded the introduction of the U.N. resolution, the Financial Times reports.

In related news, the World Diamond Council does have a draft of its diamond certification program's technical details prepared, though it has not been made public yet. A first draft was shared with the U.S. trade press on Monday.

- by Julia M. Duncan