UAE Responds To Civil Society Coalition Boycott of Kimberley Process

18/11/2015 12:41

Yesterday, the Civil Society Coalition announced at the KP Plenary meeting in Angola that it will boycott the KP next year in protest at the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) 2016 chairmanship due to, "widespread concerns over UAE's lenient standards and antagonistic relationship with the Coalition." Partnership Africa Canada 's (PAC) Director of Research, Alan Martin, said: "We have been calling on Dubai to change its harmful diamond trading practices. If they want to be a leader in the Kimberley Process, they need to act like one." The United Arab Emirates (UAE) responded, saying that the coalition had made, “public remarks that we consider an unacceptable account of industry matters, baseless and factually flawed. We are therefore disappointed that Civil Society individuals and groups continue to use this to carry out repeated attacks on the UAE and the diamond industry. We reaffirm that our door remains open to any civil society and the industry organization alike who are in a position to contribute fairly and transparently to discussions on the Kimberley Process and to work together on a continually improved future for the diamond sector. We remain committed to engaging with Civil Society, one of the three founding pillars of the Kimberley Process.”

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, released two emails sent to the Coalition, which he says went unanswered. They include a proposal for cooperation with the Coalition on supply guidance in June and a follow-up at the end of August. The correspondence was shared with KP members following the announcement of the boycott. Meanwhile, JCK writes that PAC's Martin responded to Sulayem's claim as such: “The [first] emails were sent during the [June] Intersessional. We acknowledged receipt and said we would consider the UAE’s proposals. Since the Intersessional there has been only silence. The second email was an invitation to meet for a chat. There was no explicit request to enter in a dialogue about ‘cooperation’ or any specific project.”