By Michelle Graff
Johannesburg--Though there is no new definition for conflict, members of the Kimberley Process did pave the way for one nation to get back into the diamond trade at last week’s plenary in Johannesburg.

At the meeting, KP members agreed that Cote d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) is compliant under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Cote d’Ivoire’s rough diamond trade has been banned by United Nations (UN) since 2005. While the KP vote does not change that, it does send a signal to the UN that conditions in the country are suitable for trade to resume.

Rough stones can begin flowing out of the nation when the UN Security Council votes to lift the embargo, though it was not immediately clear when that would happen. 

As expected, an expanded definition of conflict did not pass at last week’s plenary. According to a statement from the World Diamond Council (WDC), the KP opted to “continue deliberating on how the definition of conflict diamonds may be expanded, so that it remains appropriate to the changing geopolitical environment.”  

Also at the meeting, the KP opted not to lift the suspension of the Central African Republic, as security conditions in the nation are not conducive for the review mission needed to inspect conditions.

The KP’s suspension of the Central African Republic, voted on in May after a rebel group funded at least in part by diamond sales overthrew the president, means the industry should continue to avoid dealing in rough from the nation.

As vice chair of the process this year, China will take over as chairmanship in 2014. Wei Chuanzhong, China’s vice minister of general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine, will serve as chairman.

KP members elected Angola vice chair at the plenary, meaning the African nation is in place to head the process in 2015.

In addition, KP members voted to allow the WDC, the body that serves as the diamond industry’s voice on the issue of conflict diamonds, to continue to manage the KP’s administrative support mechanism, or ASM. The ASM is the body created at last year’s plenary that basically performs a secretarial function for the process as the chairmanship is passed from country to country every year.

In running the ASM, the WDC provides logistical, organizational and communications support to the nation and individual who are chairing the process.

With this week’s vote, the WDC will continue in this role through 2016, via four of its members: the Israel Diamond Institute, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Diamond House of the Government of Ghana. 

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