(Rapaport…March 25, 2003) The World Diamond Council (WDC) has sent Abbey Chikane, chair of the Kimberley Process (KP), a letter urging him to review the position of the Central African Republic (CAR) as a Kimberley Process participant due to the recent successful coup that left Francois Bozize in power and forced President Ange-Felix Patasse into Cameroon for safety.
The document cites the selective plundering of the expatriate diamond community and the believed inability of the country’s KP authority to now perform its function. It also calls attention to the members of the diamond community who hastily grabbed their belongings, including rough diamonds, as they were fleeing, only to realize that without KP certificates the diamonds could not be traded in legitimate markets.
Eli Izhakoff, WDC chairman and CEO, urges Chikane, together with participants and observers, to try to find creative solutions to accommodate this “unusual case of force majeure” without prejudice to the fight against conflict diamonds.
On March 18, 2003, Global Witness, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), had previously called for the temporary suspension of the CAR’s participation in the Kimberley Process, due to the coup.