October 10, 2006
WDC: Côte d'Ivoire Diamonds Being Smuggled into Ghana
NEW YORK -- A report to the United Nations Security Council, expected to be released this week, has found that rough diamonds from the rebel-held area of Cote d'Ivoire, which in December 2005 was banned by the United Nations from exporting diamonds, are being illegally smuggled into Ghana, entering the legitimate diamond trade.
According to Carson Glover, U.S. spokesperson for the World Diamond Council, the following letter was sent by WDC Chairman Eli Izhakoff on September 29, 2006, to Kimberley Process Chairman Kago Moshashane. It expresses the WDC's grave concerns regarding the current situation in West Africa, and appeals to the Chair and participant nations of the Kimberley Process to act "swiftly, decisively, and in unison, to resolve this serious situation."
Dear Chair and Kimberley Process Participants,
We, the World Diamond Council, would like to express our grave concerns regarding the current situation in West Africa amid reports that rough diamonds from Ivory Coast are being smuggled over the border into Ghana and exported from Accra with the validation of a Kimberley Process Certificate.
We appeal to the Chair and participant nations of the Kimberley Process to act swiftly, decisively and in unison, to resolve this serious situation to safeguard the integrity of the Kimberley Process itself and protect the industry from diamonds that have potentially originated from prohibited sources.
We appeal to the Government of Ghana to consider whatever actions it deems necessary to ensure that diamonds from Ivory Coast are not exported using Ghanaian Kimberley Process Certificates, including‹if necessary‹the temporary suspension of all rough diamond exports from Ghana.
In addition, we appeal to all rough diamond importing countries to carry out appropriate inspections of all parcels of rough diamonds emanating from West Africa to ensure that they do not contain Ivory Coast production, prohibited under UNSC Resolution 1643.
We thank you for your urgent attention regarding this matter. We are prepared to provide any necessary technical assistance that is required to achieve a successful resolution.