New KP proposals for Zim diamond sales

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The Kimberley Process (KP)Working Group on Diamond Monitoring has proposed a new system of monitoring the sale of Zimbabwe’s diamonds, NewsDay can reveal.

The new proposal was crafted a fortnight ago in Dubai at a meeting attended by countries such as Russia, India, the European Union, China, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Zimbabwe did not attend the meeting.Impeccable sources who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said Canada attended the meeting but later walked out because they argued they would not take part since Zimbabwe was not present.

“The new proposal is that Abbey Chikane the Kimberley Process monitor be removed and replaced by a KP monitoring team made up of Mark Van Vokstan, from the Diamond Centre in Antwerp, GDV of Namibia, a company which does evaluation of diamonds and that these should work with the KP local focal point person in Zimbabwe,” the source revealed.

“KP chairman Mathieu Lapfa Lambang Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo was given the text about the new proposals to transmit to Zimbabwe.”

However, the sources said it would be up to the Zimbabwe government to accept or decline the new proposals.Zimbabwe has already indicated that there was no need for continuous monitoring of the sale of its diamonds.

Media reports last week recorded Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu as saying the role of KP monitor Abbey Chikane was no longer necessary. “Our position is that we have complied and therefore there is no need for a joint monitoring workplan and monitors. We should be treated like any other compliant state,” Mpofu was quoted as having said on Friday.

However, the meeting in Dubai is said to have adopted an overall concept of supervised export mechanisms for diamonds, which would allow Zimbabwe to export immediately, but under supervision.

Zimbabwe is however said to be against those mechanisms and prefers unconditional exports.

Although Mpofu indicated he no longer needed the services of Chikane, there are reports that his (Chikane’s) term of office in the working plan had already expired.

There were also reports that civic society was not happy with Chikane’s performance. Reports say Chikane had not offered himself to continue with the job. We were unable to obtain comment from Chikane up to the time of going to press.

Other countries still say there is need for Zimbabwe to continue fulfilling the provisions on the joint work plan such as the demilitarisation of Chiadzwa and the illegal smuggling of diamonds.

Efforts to get comment from the Mines ministry on whether they had received the new proposals from Yamba were fruitless.