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11 December 2008 - item 11 "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflicts"

63rd UNGA - statement by Mr. Philippe Delacroix


Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union regarding agenda item 11 entitled "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflicts".

The European Union, which participates as a single member in the Kimberley Process, would first like to recall the importance it attaches to the Kimberley Process, which allows the international community to act in a transparent and coordinated manner in order to eradicate the trade of conflict diamonds. One year ago, on the occasion of the annual debate on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict, the European Community reported to the General Assembly and handed over the Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process to India. Today, as we conclude one year of Indian Chairmanship of the KP, the EU is pleased to note with satisfaction that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has further developed as a uniquely and increasingly effective tool for conflict prevention and has achieved significant and concrete progress in combating the scourge of conflict diamonds in 2008.

The KPCS’s credibility as an international process depends, first and foremost, on effective implementation by its Participants and the EU is glad to note that there has been significant progress in this respect. The implementation of the Bruxelles’ Declaration on trading and manufacturing centres has enabled the KP to complement efforts to strengthen controls in producing/exporting countries: this redoubling of efforts has resulted in significant seizures of illicit diamonds and demonstrated the impact of the Kimberley Process.

Moreover, the KP as an international scheme has also been further strengthened. In particular, there has been solid progress in monitoring the Scheme’s implementation, with the launching of a second round of review visits in 2008, notably to important diamond trading and manufacturing centres such as Israel and the UAE but also to conflict-affected countries such as the Central African Republic, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. The European Community, as Chair of the Monitoring Working Group, welcomes the continued commitment of Participants subject to scrutiny by KP review visits. We are pleased to announce that the European Community, as the largest trading entity in the world, fully commits to this exercise and will receive a KP review visit in February 2009.

Importantly as well, the inclusiveness of the KP has further expanded in 2008, reaching the record number of 75 countries - including the 27 EU Member States. In this respect, the European Community, as Chair of the Participation Committee in 2008, is proud to have strongly supported Mexico’s accession. The decisions on Venezuela have showed that the KP can maintain dialogue with a country experiencing difficulties in its implementation of the KPCS, while ensuring that its integrity would not be affected.

The EU believes that the Kimberley Process is a mechanism for dialogue and technical resolution that is particularly relevant to the issue of illicit trade of rough diamonds. We believe that it is not in the participants’ interest to politicize the issues addressed by this process, during the annual consideration of this item on "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflicts" by the General Assembly. We deem it imperative that the Kimberley Process remain an independent and consensual process. This is the consensual approach that the EU has adopted when constructively contributing to the negotiation of the draft resolution L.52, and making proposals to favour an adoption by consensus.

Mr. President,

The European Union considers that the draft resolution entitled "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflicts" which will be presented today does not accurately reflect the discussions that took place from 3 to 6 November 2008 in New Delhi, and does not take into account the situation in all countries whose participation in the Kimberley Process was mentioned at the 6th meeting of the Kimberley Process. We especially regret the fact that there is no reference to the continuing challenges faced by Zimbabwe in implementing the Kimberley Process, even though the participants in the Kimberley Process had noted these challenges with concern.

The European Union also regrets that it has not been possible to make a more positive statement, as is customary, with regard to the election of the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Kimberley Process. For its part, and as has been done in previous years, the EU welcomes the selection of Namibia as Chair and Israel as Vice-Chair of the Process for 2009.

Mr. President,

While reaffirming our support for the Kimberley Process and its consideration by the General Assembly, we wished to express reservations about the negotiations process for this resolution. Despite these reservations, we hope that the draft resolution that will be proposed can be adopted by consensus.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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