Zim diamonds get thumbs up

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Western calls for an international ban on trading in diamonds from Zimbabwe’s controversial Chiadzwa fields appear to have been silenced after the intervention of India and China.

An agreement was reportedly reached at in Dubai last week to allow the diamonds from Zimbabwe to be sold on the international market.

China and India reportedly managed to persuade the European Union (EU) and the United States to soften their stance on the export of the diamonds paving the way for the sale of the gems.

The Western states had been resisting growing pressure to allow Zimbabwean exports to resume, alleging human rights violations at Chiadzwa were continuing.

But this resistance appears to have been subdued after Zimbabwe got support from countries such as India and China.

Earlier this year, the new chairman of the international trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), gave Zimbabwe the green light to resume exports.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mathieu Yamba was accused of breaking KP Protocol by not consulting other member countries on the decision, causing the EU and other Western states to immediately call for a boycott of Zimbabwe’s stones.

Yamba has insisted that he will not review his decision until the next KP plenary session, expected later this year.

On Tuesday, Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu said he was happy about the latest developments saying:

“We have more than complied. Things that have been brought by those that have blocking us have nothing to do with KPCS but something to do with politics which is not on the KP Charter. All organisations involved in the diamond industry have given Zimbabwe a clean bill on compliance.”

Mpofu said diamond players such as the World Diamond Council, the World Diamond Bourse and the Dubai Diamond Council, were happy with Harare’s compliance.

“They are all comfortable with what Zimbabwe has done,” Mpofu said.

An agreement allowing Zimbabwe to sell its gems has reportedly been sent to KP chairman Yamba, who will now hand it over to the Harare government for approval.

The agreement has been described in some quarters as pandering to the Zimbabwean government, which had threatened to sell its diamonds without approval.