Sumario: April 14, 2004: Statement by Angel Carro Castrillo, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Commission to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union, on "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict", at the General Assembly Debate - Agenda Item 21 (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia; the Candidate Countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey; the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro; and the EFTA countries, Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
Breaking the link between the trade in rough diamonds and the fuelling of armed conflict is now firmly established as a recurrent item on our agenda, as it should be; the sale of rough diamonds by rebel movements has contributed to fuel some of the terrible conflicts which have ravaged parts of Africa over the past decade. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council have addressed the issue in the past, and this has contributed decisively to persuading the international community, and in particular diamond producing and trading countries as well as the international diamond industry, to adopt concrete measures to stop the flow of conflict diamonds. In particular, it has provided essential backing to the Kimberley Process.
At this year's session of the General Assembly, we can say with confidence, perhaps for the first time, that the Kimberley Process is no longer just a 'process'. It has given rise to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which has now been in operation for a full year. In the course of that year, the KPCS has found answers to most of the questions which had remained open after the Interlaken document was adopted in November 2002.
The Kimberley Process has thus found an effective response to the challenge of ensuring that those applying to join the KPCS are actually able to fulfill its obligations, by establishing a Participation Committee. This has ensured that the minimum requirements of the KPCS are applied rigorously when admitting new Participants into the Scheme, while at the same time allowing the widest possible participation in the scheme, as called for by last year's UNGA Resolution.
The Kimberley Process has moreover, with the agreement on peer review adopted at last year's Sun City Plenary meeting, risen to the challenge of devising effective and comprehensive monitoring provisions. If properly implemented, these will help ensure that the provisions of the KPCS are upheld by all Participants. The EU believes that such monitoring is crucial if we are to prevent loopholes through which illicit diamonds can enter the legitimate diamond market.
We wish emphatically to commend South Africa for having steered the Kimberley Process during this decisive first phase. As Chair of the Process, South Africa has consistently shown the firm yet consensual touch needed to galvanize a varied coalition of governments, industry representatives and non-governmental organizations behind a common purpose. The EU also wishes to extend its appreciation to Canada for having taken over the difficult assignment of chairing the Kimberley Process in 2004.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, strengthened by extensive provisions for monitoring by 'peer review', is now a viable instrument, backed by a remarkable effort at the national level - and in our case, at the European level - to give effect to its provisions. Nonetheless, the Kimberley Process clearly continues to require the strong support of the United Nations.
We should avoid any sense of complacency about implementation of the KPCS. This year, one of the main challenges for the Scheme will be the effective implementation of the peer review system agreed last year. The European Community, as Chair of the Working Group on Monitoring in the Kimberley Process, will work closely with the Canadian Chair and other Participants in building as comprehensive and effective a review programme as possible. The Scheme may also have to confront individual situations where its provisions are not being implemented as they should. It will need to deal with these equitably yet decisively. The strong backing given to the Scheme by the United Nations will give it both the authority and the responsibility to do so.
Let me make one final observation. Many of the wars which the KPCS was designed to starve of their sustenance have now abated. But the EU believes that as a conflict prevention instrument, the KPCS remains essential. This Resolution will send a strong message that the international community is not complacent about the continuing potential of diamonds in fuelling conflict.