Israel's leadership in ending 'blood diamond' trade challenged by Syria

Sunday, December 13, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Nearly a month ago, the nations involved in the "Kimberley Process" to end illicit trade in "blood diamonds" from conflict zones in Africa selected Israel to chair their efforts for the coming year.

Since that time, the nations have been working to put together a consensus draft resolution to be adopted at the UN General Assembly to both announce and kick off their campaign.

But as the resolution was about to come to a vote on Friday, Syria suddenly raised opposition to Israel's leadership role, which is only briefly mentioned on the sixth page of the resolution.

Syria demanded that any mention of Israel and its prominent role in the Kimberley Process be deleted from the document. Most other participating nations expressed confusion over why it mattered whether or not Israel was mentioned, and why such an objection had not been raised earlier.

A spot vote on the Syrian amendment was defeated 90-6, with 18 abstentions. Iran and North Korea joined several other Arab nations in supporting the Syrian motion.

Illegal trade in so-called "blood diamonds" has fueled many of Africa's most brutal civil wars and rebel movements.

Israel, as one of the world's leading exporters of cut diamonds, is uniquely positioned to understand and deal with the situation.

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