New members join board including Johan Dippenaar and Yair Sahar.

By Deepa Narwani

The newly elected World Diamond Council (WDC) board of directors held its first meeting on July 24, and expressed the organization’s support for the reform of the Kimberley Process and for the KP chair’s expanded definition for conflict diamonds, as was proposed at the WDC’s Annual Meeting in Vicenza, Italy, on May 14.


The board also gave the green light to a proposal by WDC president Eli Izhakoff that a steering committee be established, to examine the restructuring of the WDC in terms of membership, financing and administration, so as to upgrade the functioning and efficiency of the organisation in its second decade of operation. WDC vice- president Andrew Bone was appointed to head the steering committee.

Izhakoff greeted the new members of the board including Petra Diamond’s Johan Dippenaar, Stephane Fischler, Lisu Lionel Hadebe, Vinod Hayagriv, Reuven Kaufman, Dilip Mehta, Yair Sahar and Leonid Tolpezhnikov.

Andrew Bone and Stephane Fischler were appointed vice-presidents.

Izhakoff said: "The WDC board applauded the two-year collaboration agreement between the United States and South Africa, and we believe that it provides an opportunity for real progress.

"The board affirmed the resolution of the WDC General Assembly in Vicenza that the proposal made by KP chair ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, according to which the term conflict diamonds would be amended to cover rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise directly related to, armed conflict or other situations of violence, which is a good basis for moving forward the discussion on an expanded definition.

"We also hope to see progress in this respect, and call on all KP participants to engage in a constructive discussion so that the issue may be resolved."