Trade in conflict diamonds 'a matter of serious international concern'
Photo: AP

UN OKs Israel-led blood diamonds resolution

General Assembly unanimously agrees to strengthen global efforts to halt use of diamond trade to fund armed conflicts across Africa. 'This is an impressive achievement for Israel,' says Ambassador Meron Reuven

WASHINGTON - The United Nations General Assembly unanimously agreed Thursday to strengthen global efforts to curb the trade in so-called blood diamonds, saying better enforcement and reporting can help end violent conflicts fueled by illegal exploitation of the rough gems.


Led by Israel, more than 60 other countries co-sponsored the resolution deepening the commitment by UN member states to halt the use of the diamond trade to fund armed conflicts across Africa.


The resolution called for countries to be more consistent and thorough in reporting on the origins of diamonds being traded in their areas, and for full implementation of existing Security Council measures targeting the blood diamond trade.


"The trade in conflict diamonds continues to be a matter of serious international concern which can be directly linked to the fueling of armed conflict, the activities of rebel movements aimed at undermining or overthrowing legitimate governments and the illicit traffic in and proliferation of armaments, especially small arms and light weapons," the resolution said.


Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuven said that "this is an impressive achievement for Israel. We are working to integrate in the UN's professional activity in a way which will present Israel's activity beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we plan to continue initiating such resolutions."


'Israel deeply involved in efforts'

Boaz Hirsch, representing Israel as chairman of the global diamond industry's oversight body, said he hopes Congo will continue his country's efforts when it assumes the chairmanship early next year. He said the regulatory group, known as the Kimberly Process, so far has been unable to reach a consensus on how to prevent export of illicit rough diamonds from Zimbabwe.


"We want to engage with Zimbabwe and reach a resolution so they can legally export" diamonds, he said.


Human rights groups allege that they have found evidence of forced labor, torture, beatings and harassment by troops in the Marange diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe - allegations the country denies.

Last year, the Kimberley Process sanctioned Zimbabwe for "significant noncompliance" but stopped short of expelling it from the group.


Hirsch said the Kimberly Process, which took effect in late 2002, has reduced the illicit trade from as much as 15% of the world's supply of diamonds to less than 1%. Although Israel's chairmanship is ending, he said his country will remain deeply involved in efforts to stem the export of so-called blood or conflict diamonds as one of the world's three largest diamond trading centers.


Several years ago, Israel passed a resolution on an international Holocaust memorial day at the UN, which is marked worldwide every year, as well as an initiative regarding agricultural technologies, an area in which Israel has been helping third world countries.



פרסום ראשון: 12.17.10, 07:37
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