Boaz Hirsch, Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2010 and Deputy Director General for Foreign Trade in Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, granted the Israel Diamond Institute an interview to discuss the issues concerning the KP just prior to the 2010 Plenary session, due to be hosted by Israel in Jerusalem between the 1st and 4th of November.
Israel Diamond Institute: At the
Boaz Hirsch: These initiatives are currently the subject of intensive discussions with the members of the Kimberley Process, and there is quite a wide level of
There is a lot of debate still ongoing on our initiative to form an office of administration and
Everyone is involved in progressing this issue. In practical terms, a transformation such as introducing an administrative body to the Kimberley Process is a fundamental change to the nature of process. The Kimberley Process is a very special system without any specific organization – it is a system which is based on a voluntary nature. The sudden introduction of a permanent, dedicated, supranational body to this process which is based very much on the activities of its members is a very significant change. People are cautious and waiting to examine the nature of the administrative body – to see if it is flexible enough and not too demanding in terms of funding. These are the issues that are being examined now.
As part of our vision, we regard these initiatives as important to the dynamic nature of the Kimberley Process as well as the capability of the Kimberley Process to deal with the reality as it is today. We think these initiatives will contribute to the effectiveness of the organization and also to its pubic image. That is the vision.
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What is the situation regarding
There is no change at the moment. Unfortunately, the diplomatic relations between
To date, we have not yet received a reply from
It is very hard for me to answer this as a representative of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor as opposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, there is little doubt that to serve as Chair of a process that is so large and so important, which touches many continents, such as Africa, Australia, the United States, Asia, involves trade worth billions, affects the employment of millions of people worldwide, as well as relating to sensitive issues such as human rights, there is no doubt that such a process contributes to the standing of Israel.
Next year's chair is the
As far as the handover is concerned we already began that process at the intersessional meeting in Tel Aviv when the two teams met and exchanged information both about substance and technicalities.
We have also scheduled a teleconference with the DRC representatives prior to the Plenary in order to update them on the status, and there will be another session of information exchange and briefing in
It was a challenge for
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We cannot exaggerate the sensitive nature concerning the
Undoubtedly this issue is a challenge. On the one hand, we do see changes carried out by the Zimbabwean government. On the other hand there are the concerns that there are challenges there that still have to be met.
As we all saw, unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to overcome the impasse at the intersessional meeting. Whether the same thing awaits us at the plenary I very much hope not. We are trying to get ready to avoid such a scenario.
In practical terms, what is relevant to
What of the concerns that have been expressed that the trade will go underground and possibly get into the hands of terrorist groups if there is no way of legitimately exporting diamonds from Zimbabwe?
I would not go in the direction of terror. The Kimberley Process is not an intelligence or spy agency. I simply don’t want to see the smuggling of diamonds. Period. That is one of the reasons why we are so devoted to the initiative of enforcement.
This issue precisely defines our dilemma. On one hand we want
We are committed to finding a solution that is both workable and serves the credibility of the Kimberley Process. The credibility of the Kimberley Process is the most important asset that we have and, at the end of the day, serves the diamond industry as a whole as well as the Israeli diamond industry.
Thank you Boaz Hirsch