Canada Rejects Statement on Zimbabwe Diamonds

(No. 181 - June 24, 2011 – 10:00 p.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today announced that Canada has rejected a statement by the Chair of the Kimberley Process.

The administrative notice, issued late yesterday, incorrectly states that a compromise was reached at the Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting held June 20-23, 2011, in Kinshasa regarding exports from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe.

"Contrary to the Chair’s Notice, key concerns were not addressed and Canada, and like-minded states, did not endorse the proposal submitted by the Chair,” said Minister Baird.

"The notice was issued in contravention of rules and procedures of the Kimberley Process. We are advising the Canadian diamond industry against trade in Marange diamonds.

"In light of the Zimbabwean military’s brutal crackdown on miners in December 2008, Canada continues to call for supervised exports from two Marange mines and a credible monitoring arrangement. Without these systems in place, Canada refuses to go along with the plan to certify Zimbabwe’s diamonds.

"All diamond-producing countries stand to lose if the Kimberley Process is rendered ineffective. Canada will continue to work to address the fundamental weaknesses of the Kimberley Process and find a credible solution that is satisfactory to all stakeholders.

"Marange diamonds should benefit the people of Zimbabwe. One important step toward this goal is to ensure that the diamonds are properly and credibly certified through a strong Kimberley Process."

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