Moscow Meeting Yields Agreement on Certification System

July 6, 2001

Moscow Meeting Yields Agreement on Certification System

Representatives from 34 nations attending meetings as part of the so-called Kimberley Process in Moscow this week announced Thursday they had agreed on the main principles of an international diamond certification system to end the trade in conflict diamonds.

Representatives of governments and the European Commission along with diamond industry officials and non-governmental organizations attended the four-day meeting, which continues the Kimberley Process, named for the legendary diamond mining city in South Africa where concerned parties first met to discuss the conflict diamond issue last year.

Government officials at the meetings made progress in defining minimum acceptable standards for an international diamond certification system and agreed to put a regulatory system in place to stop the flow of conflict diamonds, according to Reuters.

The new plan requires government agencies in diamond-producing and diamond-trading nations to issue internationally recognized certificates. The plan includes a proposal for government agencies to be responsible for confirming the legitimacy of diamonds and that producers be required to give guarantees to their governments, Reuters reports. The system will also require a monitoring mechanism that the countries plan to discuss when they next meet in London in September, the Associated Press reports.

Officials at the meetings said the basic elements of the system would be elaborated further ahead of the next meeting in London, and they hope to have a final agreement ready for approval by the United Nations before autumn.

- by Julia M. Duncan