- Consensus rule of KP saves Russia
- US, EU and their Western allies sponsored motion to expel Russia from meeting
- Belarus, the Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali ‘vetoed’ the motion
- Discussion of Russia-Ukraine war also thwarted
A spirited proposal by the Kimberly Process Civil Society Coalition (KPCSC) to discuss whether Russian diamonds are funding the war in Ukraine was thwarted and excised from the agenda of the four-day summit of the Kimberly Process Intersessional Meeting in Kasane yesterday.
According to sources at the ongoing meeting, Russia was supported by Belarus, the Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali to stop the proposed discussion taking place.
The Botswana Gazette published a strong-worded press release from KPCSC last week in which the powerful organisation advocated for the exclusion of Russia from the meeting. This proposal also failed after other countries backed Russia’s continued presence and participation.
Reuters reported that the proposal to expel Russia from the meeting was spearheaded by Ukraine, the European Union, Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States they wanted the KP Intersessional to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether to broaden the KP’s definition of conflict diamonds to include state actors.
A letter co-written by these countries last week called suspension of certifying Russian diamonds as conflict-free until the country unconditionally ends aggression against Ukraine. The countries also proposed adoption of a serious and meaningful reform agenda that at minimum makes an end to the stifling consensus model with more flexible decision-making and considerable tightening of participants’ internal control requirements and oversight by the KP.
The United States and Britain have already placed sanctions on Russia’s partly state-owned Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds that accounted for around 30% of global output last year. Botswana’s Debswana parastatal is the world’s second largest diamond producer.
Meanwhile, officially opening the KP Intercessional meeting in Kasane, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, implored the participants to delve into matters of rough diamonds and to discuss even the most uncomfortable issues for the objective of ensuring that KP remains fit.
“KP has become an important source of inspiration for conflict prevention as it points out the value of commodity certification to promote clean trade,” Minister Moagi said. The KP has undeniably made it harder for rebel groups to finance their wars through diamond trading.
“Transparency and good governance in natural resource management are now widely recognised as important tools for conflict prevention and peace building, mostly due to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. We need to build this recognition of the good that it has done. There is no time to rest or allow complacency to set in the KP.”