Zim unfairly treated on diamonds – Chimanikire

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Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire says Zimbabwe is being unfairly treated by international organisations and countries that are opposed to the certification of diamonds from Chiadzwa by the Kimberley Process (KP).

Chimanikire said the country had fully complied with the KP requirements and should freely export its gems.

His comment follows reports that the European Union (EU) was calling for an urgent meeting to force the KP to reverse its recent decision allowing Zimbabwe to resume diamond exports.

“I do not know what they are quarrelling about. We challenge them to prove that we have not complied with the KP requirements. As far as we are concerned, the EU is not the entire component of the KP because they are not diamond producers,” Chimanikire told NewsDay.

“It’s like trying to organise a meeting of (European football governing body) Uefa when you are not in Europe.”

Chimanikire said any embargo on Zimbabwean diamonds would affect ordinary Zimbabweans because the gems would be sold through informal markets, opening room for non- transparency in the sale of the gems.

Chimanikire said the country should be allowed to sell its diamonds to enable it to adequately pay civil servants.

Last month, KP chairperson Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo gave Zimbabwe the green light to export rough diamonds from Chiadzwa diamond fields.

However, the decision immediately sparked heated debate after it emerged Yamba had not consulted other key stakeholders. Britain’s Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Howell, claimed Yamba’s authorisation was invalid because this was outside the mandate of the chairperson and contrary to the core KP principle of consensual decision-making.

He said: “The EU also expressed concerns about the uncertainty it creates for KP participants, the diamond industry and consumers and urged the chair to clarify the situation as a matter of urgency.

To this end, the EU has also contacted the chairs of the other KP working groups and is taking steps to organise an emergency meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring to discuss the issue as a matter of urgency.”

But Yamba has vowed he would not reverse his decision until the next formal meeting of the KP.