Posted in News by Admin on June 18th, 2007
Source: Rapaport News
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) broke a six-month deadlock with Venezuela after the country’s deputy mines minister Ivan Hernandez attended the KPCS mid-term meeting in Brussels this week.
KPCS sources told Rapaport News that Hernandez informed the scheme of his attendance just one or two days before the meeting was scheduled to start on June 12.
The KPCS, under the 2007 chairmanship of the European Commission (EC,) has been trying to engage Venezuela in a dialog, with no success, since its most recent plenary meeting in November 2006 in Gaborone, when significant indications of non-compliance came to the its attention, including diamond smuggling charges.
“The KPCS has called on Venezuela to invite a review mission to assess its compliance with the scheme,” the source said. “We have repeatedly presented written requests for a meeting but have had no response until now.”
At the meeting, the source reported, Hernandez explained his country’s silence saying it was involved in an administrative reorganization and redefining its mining policy. Hernandez also reportedly said that it was particularly difficult to implement controls in Venezuela given the large, predominantly alluvial, mining area in the country.
The deputy mining minister committed to deliver Venezuela’s overdue annual report and statistical data and said he would consult with authorities in the country to invite a KPCS review visit to assess its compliance with the scheme.
The meeting in Brussels, which took place June 12-14, marked the mid-point of the chairmanship for Europe, and convened to review progress made on recommendations made at the Gaborone meeting, of a reform agenda for the process. As a working meeting, no formal decisions were made and the KP present more concrete resolutions at its annual plenary in November.
The meeting came just two-weeks after a KPCS technical team visited Zimbabwe, but officials said the country did not receive high priority at this weeks gathering. The review team is currently preparing a report on the visit, which will subsequently be presented to Zimbabwe officials for response. The report is expected to be published around the beginning-to-mid August.
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