Namibia to Vice-Chair Kimberley Process

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

The 2007 Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting has elected Namibia to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2008.

The Kimberley Process is a joint government, international diamond industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of illegal diamonds usually by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

Diamond Commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya, who attended the meeting in Brussels, Belgium, told New Era yesterday that Namibia has been bestowed with this responsibility as vice-chair because of the country’s sound reputation as a diamond producing country.

He said the vice-chair position puts Namibia in the transition phase to take up the chairmanship position in 2009.

India will take over the chairmanship from the European Community in January 2008.

Namibia will in 2009 host the Kimberley Process Secretariat and coordinate all related activities of the international scheme.

This will include ensuring that countries interested in joining the Kimberley Process meet the requirements and report to the United Nations General Assembly.

There are 48 participants in the Kimberley Process, including countries that joined this year. The European Community represents 27 member states.

The plenary meeting, attended by over 300 delegates, Hamutenya said, approved the re-admission of Congo to the Kimberley Process.

In July 2004, Congo was expelled after it was found that there were diamonds smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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