South African officials plan to ask all nations to back an international certification system for diamonds Friday at the U.N. General Assembly meeting, the New York Times reports. Ambassador Dumisana Kumalo of South Africa will introduce the resolution, which is backed by the United States, Britain, Israel, Belgium and others.
According to the Times, Kumalo says that without an international effort, there's no hope of stopping the rebel diamond trade. The South African resolution is expected to pass; however, there's been some resistance to Kumalo's campaign for international standards.
Botswana and Namibia have joined with South Africa in offering to set up a technical process for certifying diamonds based on standards already established by various nations, the Times reports. The countries are also concerned that a consumer boycott of diamonds would hurt their economies, which are heavily dependent on diamond mining.
In related news, Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH) is planning another diamond protest this Saturday outside a Tiffany & Co. store in a suburb of Washington, DC, the Associated Press reports. Hall isn't calling for a consumer boycott because he knows it could hurt other diamond-producing countries in Africa, but he wants consumers to find out where a diamond is from before purchasing it this holiday season.
- by Julia M. Duncan