Botswana and Russia, the two leading diamond producers in the world, are in a “tug of war” over the leadership of the Kimberley Process (KP), according to Mmegi’s BusinessWeek.
Compromise talks between the two countries ahead of the KP plenary recently held in Belgium were said to have failed as neither country was willing to concede to the other.
“Our argument is that we had a similar situation in 2005 where we yielded for Russia and we are trying to convince them to yield for us,” said Botswana minerals ministry permanent secretary Cornelius Dekop.
An unnamed source said negotiations would continue until December 31 and India, the incoming KP chair was expected to redouble efforts to push both countries into a settlement should they fail to reach a compromise.
Botswana was pushing to lead KP as the diamond watchdog, driven by Western governments, was set consider reforms, which could extend the definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ to include those produced in politically unstable countries or diamonds used by political systems facing human rights abuses.
Countries such as Zimbabwe were against the proposed reforms, which they say are part of a Western agenda to wield power through diamond trade.