June 29, 2001
European Union Working to Block Conflict Diamonds
Belgium says it will put conflict diamonds high on the agenda when it takes over the presidency of the European Union next month, the Financial Times reports. Great Britain is joining with Belgium to exert renewed pressure toward a global certification plan in the face of Russian opposition.
"Diamonds will be injected into several of the working groups, particularly one that deals with Africa and another that deals with the United Nations," the Belgian foreign ministry states. "We fully support a global certification process."
Belgium's leadership role will be important as the Kimberley Process meetings to implement a U.N.-sponsored global certification system resume in Moscow.
Human-rights advocate Global Witness states: "There are worrying signs that the Russians are not fully committed to the Kimberley Process and all the aspects of the envisaged certification scheme."
- by Liz Smutko