A report to the United Nations Security Council has found that a significant volume of conflict diamonds from the rebel-held area of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is entering the legitimate diamond trade.
The U.N. Security Council imposed a diamond embargo on Ivory Coast, but a recent report said that between $9 million and $24 million worth of stones are now entering the market through Ghana and Mali.
A statement by NGOs Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness said these shipments “undermine the fundamental aim of the three year old Kimberley Process, which was established to ensure that all rough diamonds traded internationally are conflict-free.” The groups called for stronger controls in African countries to insure no diamonds in neighboring countries come through.
In response World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff said, in a letter to the head of the Kimberley Process: “We appeal to the Government of Ghana to consider whatever actions it deems necessary to ensure that diamonds from Ivory Coast are not exported using Ghanaian Kimberley Process Certificates, including – if necessary – the temporary suspension of all rough diamond exports from Ghana.
“In addition, we appeal to all rough diamond importing countries to carry out appropriate inspections of all parcels of rough diamonds emanating from West Africa to ensure that they do not contain Ivory Coast production, prohibited under UNSC Resolution 1643.”
Aristotle Kotey, the managing director of Precious Minerals Company Limited, the government agency in Ghana that supervises trade in diamonds and gold, says the U.N. report is “inaccurate.”