The Russian government has accused Western nations of trying to undermine the Kimberley Process (KP).
Group of Seven (G7) countries and the European Union have attempted to politicize the global diamond watchdog and introduce their own “biased” parallel regulatory program, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev wrote Sunday in an open letter to the KP chairman.
The claims come ahead of next week’s KP plenary meeting in Zimbabwe and reflect controversy over the attempts by the G7 — which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU — to impose a bloc-wide ban on Russian diamonds.
“Westerners have already made a fundamental decision for themselves they are not satisfied with the current transparent format of the Kimberley Process,” said Moiseev in the five-page letter. “In this regard, they seek either to distort the foundations of its work in favor of their geopolitical interests, or to destabilize and eventually destroy the KP in order to replace it with their own control mechanism.”
The KP has succeeded in reducing the proportion of conflict diamonds in the market to 1% in 2022 and has led to other improvements in the industry, he argued. But since last year, he continued, Western countries have aspired to “blur” the organization’s “scope of competence” and “distort its relevant goals.”
He alleged “massive anti-Russian propaganda” as well as attempts to block the nomination of Russian ally Belarus for KP vice chair in 2024 and chair in 2025. He also referred to a September 7 letter from Ukraine, which attempted to “distort” the agenda of the upcoming plenary, which runs from November 6 to 10.
Efforts to devise a method of keeping Russian diamonds out of the G7 due to the Ukraine war constituted a “clear manifestation” of this course, he claimed. “The discriminative measures of the G7, if implemented, will essentially take the form of a structure parallel to the KP,” replacing the current “equal-for-all” system with a “restrictive mechanism based on [a] biased political approach.”
He also said Russia was ready to host a review visit in 2024 to demonstrate its compliance with KP requirements.
The letter comes after the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) criticized efforts to implement a ban on Russian diamonds, accusing Western authorities of not consulting with Africans.
The World Diamond Council (WDC), which represents the industry at the KP and is coordinating one of the proposals for a G7 ban on Russian diamonds, was unavailable for comment at press time. The US State Department declined to comment.
Main image: Rough diamonds from Russian miner Alrosa being prepared for cutting and polishing. (Alrosa)