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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Attempting To Alter The Kimberley Process ‘Diamonds’

Ukraine has accused Moscow of attempting to keep Russian diamonds from being labelled "conflict diamonds" by elevating its ally Belarus to the top of an international diamond certifying agency.

Some members of the Kimberley Process (KP), an international certification method established in 2003 by a coalition of governments, business, and civil society, have advocated for diamonds from Russia, the world's largest producer by volume, to be labelled "conflict diamonds."

Kimberley Process

The KP generally makes the statement concerning raw diamonds used by rebel organisations or their sympathisers to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments in order to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.

These stones are also known as "blood diamonds," a phrase invented to reflect the number of lives lost during such battles. According to a letter dated September 19, Belarus has sought to be the KP's vice chair in 2023 and chair in 2024. Because the KP takes decisions by agreement, the schism over Russia threatens to paralyse it. "Russia is pressuring Belarus to take the chair so that Russia's interests can be better pursued and safeguarded within the KP," Ukraine's Kimberley Process delegate, Vladimir Tatarintsev, wrote in an email on Tuesday.

Ukraine & Russia

Belarus did not reply to requests for comment through email. Russia has condemned efforts to "politicise" the KP. The KP has the authority to prohibit diamond shipments from specific nations, as it did in 2013, when rebels took control of the Central African Republic. Belarus stated in its proposal that it was willing to defend the KP's "unity and authority." Belarus, which has never chaired the KP, backed Russia in opposing a request to examine the invasion of Ukraine at a KP meeting in June. The proposition was written to Botswana's Chairman Jacob Thamage, who did not reply to a request for comment.

The UAE, the world's largest rough diamond trade centre, also filed a formal application for the chairmanship in 2024. It has not placed sanctions on Russia in order to maintain a "neutral attitude" on the Ukrainian conflict. Mr Tatarintsev stated that Ukraine had no objections to the UAE's candidacy, but that "it is unlikely that anybody will be able to unify the Kimberley Process."

Diamonds

According to KP and UN estimates, the only current incidence of rebel forces holding diamond-producing territories is in Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa, which accounts for less than 0.1 percent of global output. Previously, hostilities in Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were partially supported by diamonds. The KP permits diamond riches to contribute to peace and prosperity in these nations rather than strife.

The scheme's 81 member nations ensure that 99.8% of retail diamonds originate from conflict-free zones. According to the KP, legitimate exports in Sierra Leone have surged 100-fold since the conclusion of the war in 2002.

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