Ukraine wants to prevent Belarus from becoming the chairman of the international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP). Ukrainians believe Russia has a hand in the Eastern European country’s proposal to head the organization.

Belarus has applied to become vice president in 2023 and take over the presidency a year later, according to a letter seen by Reuters news agency. Ukraine does not care for it. Belarus is led by autocratic leader Lukashenko and is considered one of Russia’s key allies, which occupies parts of Ukraine.

Russia is putting pressure on Belarus to become president so that Russia’s interests can be better pursued and protected within the KP,” Ukraine’s envoy to the regulator told Reuters. Belarus has not yet responded. Russia has said it condemns attempts to “politicize” the international organization.

United Arab Emirates

Dozens of countries are participating in the Kimberley Process. They want to stop the trade in conflict diamonds. The European Union is representing its 27 member states. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also applied to become chair in 2024, according to Reuters. Ukraine has no objection to that.

The KP can halt countries’ diamond exports. That happened in 2013, for example, when rebels seized power in the Central African Republic. A proposal to discuss the invasion of Ukraine within the KP was scrapped earlier this year after opposition from Russia and Belarus.

Largest producer

Russia is a major player in the international diamond trade. The Russian concern Alrosa is known as the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds. There were earlier calls in the European Union to curb diamond imports from Russia to retaliate for the war in neighboring Ukraine.