MASISI APPEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AGAINST G7 MOVE

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MASISI APPEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AGAINST G7 MOVE
MASISI APPEALS FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AGAINST G7 MOVE

Africa-Press – Botswana. President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has appealed for the international community’s support on the condemnation of the recent move by the G7 to require all rough and polished diamonds destined to member states to be routed through Antwerp, Belgium, for certification.

Dr Masisi said that the move would force producer countries engaged in legitimate trade to send their rough diamonds to Antwerp, which he said would unfairly curtail their freedom of choosing where to export their diamonds.

Dr Masisi made the appeal during his meetings with local and foreign Heads of Mission in Gaborone on Wednesday. He indicated that the decision was of grave national concern and posed a serious perilous threat to both citizens and the economies of producer countries.

“This therefore necessitates an urgent dialogue among the G7 and African producer countries such as Botswana, Angola and Namibia,” he said.

“It would also significantly increase costs, the turnaround time for diamonds to go through a single point to enter G7 reduces our countries’ competitiveness and erodes our consented efforts for local beneficiation and value addition,” he said. He said that campaigns of engagement and dialogue with G7 to express concern on the matter were underway.

Dr Masisi said this was because diamonds were an important cornerstone of the economies of the African producer countries as job creations and funding development project that improved the livelihoods of citizens hinged on them, which he said ultimately contributed to stability in the region.

Dr Masisi also said the move by the G7 came at a time when African countries had developed robust and transparent certification systems for diamonds such as the Kimberly Process Certification System.

“For many years, the Kimberly Process Certification System has successfully given customers, including the G7 countries, certainty and assurance of the origin of diamonds,” he said.

He said the trust assurance and full confidence provided by the certification agencies unequivocally demonstrated a united resolve and commitment to the principles of global free trade and sustainable development.

“We therefore invite the G7 countries to undertake a targeted technical visit to verifiably assess and establish confidence and assurance on the veracity of our certification processes,” he said.

He said therefore that an amicable solution through urgent and meaningful engagement was required for a mutually beneficial outcome before the enforcement of the G7 decision, which he said was taken without consulting producer countries.

Dr Masisi said such a meaningful engagement would also help establish a genuine partnership on an equal footing.

“In this regard, we humbly seek your support as envoys of your respective countries to deliver this message and plea to your capitals,” he said.

Dr Masisi also appreciated the envoys for their service to the country, as he said they continued to make a difference to the lives of Batswana through their diplomatic efforts and sacrifice. He also appreciated foreign envoys for the support that Botswana continued to receive from their respective countries and international organisations.

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