kp warns of ivory coast diamond smuggling
In the midst of unresolved Zimbabwe diamond controversy comes another issue – the reports of Ivory Coast diamonds possibly emerging into the market. Currently diamond trade from the Cote d’Ivoire is suspended under the Kimberley Process in addition to U.N. Trade sanctions, however the new Kimberly Process (KP) chair recently released a report that urges manufacturers to “exercise strong vigilance and ensure that all necessary KPCS decisions are upheld in support of U.N.-imposed sanctions to prevent Ivorian diamonds from entering participant states and to report to the Working Group on Monitoring on actions taken in this respect.” As a result of the KP Chair’s statement, Avi Paz of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) distributed the news in various languages and stressed the importance of “…each individual diamantaire who holds bourse membership is completely up to speed as the requirements, rules and regulations concerning the ban on trading in diamonds originating in areas and regions of conflict.”
This is an interesting time to release these statements considering the KP banned Ivory Coast diamonds in 2005 yet the export of the country’s diamonds hardly went down in all these years. Is the KP and WFDB reiterating sanctions on the Cote d’Ivoire diamonds because they think a civil war is on the verge? With all the political unrest in the northern African countries recently, I would not be surprised. Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbago lost the presidential election last year but still refuses to step down to Alassane Ouattara who won the election. The Ivory Coast might possibly have another civil war on its hands that is funded by the diamond-rich nation, even if only partially funded by these natural resources.
So far I have not personally heard about any Ivory Coast diamonds making their way into the NY market (but would they be called “Ivory Coast” diamonds anyway?) I will stay mindful and keep asking questions, especially to understand who is benefiting from the sales of these stones. One of my local sources believes the African nation’s rebels (at least in the north) are purchasing weapons from the tax money incurred on diamond sales. What no one has been answer directly is: Where are those “potential blood diamonds” ending up?