The United States and Britain are boycotting some meetings of the Kimberley Process because they are chaired by Russia, as a sign of how geopolitical rifts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are affecting international diamond certification efforts.

Founded in 2003, the Kimberley Process is an 85-nation agency that certifies exports of rough diamonds and monitors members’ compliance with requirements to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.

The division threatens to cause stagnation in the Kimberley process, undermining efforts to ensure better control of conflict diamonds.

The United States last week banned imports of Russian diamonds as part of sweeping economic sanctions against the country.

But the European Union – home to the main diamond trading center Antwerp – has not banned the import of Russian diamonds so far, although it banned EU companies on Tuesday from exporting luxury goods worth more than 300 euros to Russia, including rough and polished. diamonds.

Britain has also not banned the import of Russian diamonds.

In separate emails seen by Reuters, UK and US delegates to the Kimberley trial said they will not attend meetings of two committees chaired by Russia.

“While the United States remains fully committed to continuing its active role in the FP, due to Russia’s actions, we are currently not participating in upcoming meetings of the Participation and Presidency Committee and the Rules and Procedures Committee,” said American Kimberley. Process contact person George Cajati said in an email to committee members on March 9.

Russia’s representative to the Kimberley Process sent what they called a “pure response” to the boycotts on Thursday.

“We will not succumb to provocation and conspiracy to discuss a critical international issue within the Kimberley Process, which is beyond the scope of the Kimberley Process,” the Russian statement said, seen by Reuters.

“Irresponsible attempts to forcibly politicize the activities of the Kimberley Process jeopardize the performance of the KP, threaten the execution of its current agenda and run counter to the interests of the diamond industry.”

The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, a group of non-governmental organizations that has observer status with the KP, has called on governments and industry to ensure that diamonds produced in Russia or by Alrosa do not contribute to the funding of the conflict in Ukraine.

The coalition asked Botswana, the chairman of this year’s Kimberley Process, to convene a plenary meeting on the issue.

Alrosa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Botswana did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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