UAE Denies Claims of NGOs at Kimberley Process Plenary MeetingNovember 11, 14
(IDEX Online) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has refuted what it describes as "irresponsible and unfounded attacks by the Civil Society Coalition" at the opening session of the Kimberley Process plenary meeting in Guangzhou, China.
The UAE said in a letter sent to all members of the KP that the attacks by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were concentrated on two major issues: a claimed lack of internal controls in the UAE, and issues related to transfer pricing, as mentioned in a 14-month-old FATF/Egmont study.
The UAE said in its letter to KP members: "The UAE's control system is on a par with the best control systems in the world, like Antwerp and Israel.
"Transfer Pricing, as described in the FATF report, is an issue which does not belong to the KP Minimum Requirements. It is indeed, on the other hand, an issue to be taken seriously. The FATF/Egmont study, however, is not on Dubai but mainly focuses on other trading centers. Out of the 36 case studies only five mentioned Dubai. Out of the five, there were two that concerned attempts to smuggle. An issue which most of us face."
The UAE said that two independent studies had recently been carried out by Tacy Ltd/PharosBeam, "and the contents speak for themselves".
The studies "further demonstrate the complexity of the diamond pipeline especially with regard to the whole pricing structures in place. Unfortunately nobody is served with tabloid style allegations like the one we had to hear this morning.
"No KP Participant should be bullied or intimidated for the sole reason of its opinions."
Dubai, along with Australia, is a candidate for the Vice-Chair position of the KP in 2015, with a vote due to take place at the meeting this week.
The UAE delegation acknowledged the achievements of the KP and the work to eradicate conflict diamonds. It believes the organization should push forward real development initiatives on the ground in Africa to improve the lives of the millions of those involved in diamond mining, including initiatives in line with the Washington Declaration as registration of artisanal miners in demarcated concessions will enable ‘mine to market’ traceability of their production.
Dubai Diamond Exchange Chairman Peter Meeus said: "Over the past 10 years the KP has made significant headway. Today unlike any other commodity, diamonds are almost 100 percent conflict free. With the cessation of conflict in many countries, we have seen the KP prove its relevance as a tool to combat and eradicate conflict diamonds.
“The industry now needs to continue to improve the lives of the millions involved in the diamond industry in Africa and we need to come to a new and responsible relationship with Civil Society. It's time to give up the aggressive approach towards an industry that has basically complied with much more than minimum standards. If the UAE is elected Vice Chair, a new partnership and a progressive approach towards development initiatives, involving all stakeholders, should become the center of the debate.”