Britain instructed its foreign office two years ago to push the Kimberley Process to investigate Zimbabwe’s eligibility to the diamond controlling body and to approach leading non-governmental organisations Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada to do research and report on Zimbabwe’s trafficking in conflict diamonds because the KP was too slow, a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks says.
The cable dispatched on 21 January 2009 says the instructions were issued by Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Africa Mark Malloch-Brown but both Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada said they had never been approached by the British government to do any reports.
“PAC collaborates closely with many governments, Western and African, to monitor and strengthen the KP. To date PAC has not undertaken any research or reporting in Marange that has been funded by either the US or the UK governments,” Partnership Africa Canada said.
Its sister organisation Global Witness said: “Global Witness was never approached by the FCO to carry out research on its behalf – had such a request been made we would have declined. Global Witness is a non-governmental organisation, and all of our research is completely independent.”
Partnership Africa Canada has, however, published two damning reports on Zimbabwe’s diamonds from Marange. One, entitled: Zimbabwe, diamonds and the wrong side of history was released in March 2009, and the other: Diamonds and Clubs, the militarised control of diamonds and power in Zimbabwe was released in June last year.
Global Witness released a report entitled: Return of the Blood Diamond: The deadly race to control Zimbabwe’s new-found diamond wealth also in June last year.
Tracy Walton, who was in charge of the Zimbabwe desk when Malloch-Brown issued the instructions, recommended that the UK should work with the United States government to lobby the KP in a “separate but coordinated” manner.
Walton said although the European Union was considering a ban on the import of Zimbabwe diamonds there was opposition from Belgium which hosts one of the world’s biggest diamond trading centres because it did not want any country in the world to trade the diamonds if it could not.
She said Russia was the biggest obstacle in trying to get the United Nations to implement sanctions on Zimbabwe. China, she said, was “uninterested” in the diamonds but appeared to be distancing itself from the Mugabe regime.
China and Russia have vetoed resolutions for sanctions on Zimbabwe.
China is more than interested in Zimbabwe’s diamonds. One of the three companies now mining diamonds in Marange is Chinese. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was on a two-day visit to Zimbabwe last week and was expected to sign significant investment deals.
Walton said the Democratic Republic of Congo could be the biggest weakness if Zimbabwe wanted to circumvent the KP. British government assessment showed that mining in the DRC had decreased by 80 percent but the DRC’s diamond exports had increased by over 100 percent.
The DRC is the current chairman of the KP.
It was not clear why the British were so concerned about Zimbabwe diamond exports now because for three years they turned a blind eye when a United Nations company helped River Ranch diamond mine in which former army commander Solomon Mujuru was a shareholder. Mujuru is on both the United States and European Union sanctions list.
UK SEEKS TO CURB DIAMOND EXPORTS
Ref ID: 09LONDON155
Date: 1/21/2009 14:58
Origin: Embassy London
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000155 SIPDIS DEPART FOR AF/S DEPART ALSO FOR EEB/ESC/IEC – BROOKS-RUBIN E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2019 TAGS: PREL, EMIN, UNSC, ZU, ZI, UK SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: UK SEEKS TO CURB DIAMOND EXPORTS REF: A. 09 HARARE 24 B. 08 HARARE 1035 C. 08 HARARE 1016 Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1.(C) FCO Minister for Africa Mark Malloch-Brown has instructed the Foreign Office to push the Kimberley Process (KP) to investigate Zimbabwe’s KP eligibility and issue a statement about Zimbabwe’s trafficking of conflict diamonds (reftels). In the interim because KP “is so slow,” Malloch-Brown has requested NGOs like Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) be approached to do research and reporting on the situation, FCO Zimbabwe Desk Officer Tracy Walton said on January 15. Walton recommended that the USG and HMG lobby the KP in a “separate but coordinated” manner to see a statement issued as soon as possible. Walton noted that the EU was considering a ban on the import of Zimbabwe diamonds, but said that Belgium had mounted opposition. According to Walton, Belgium was amiable to UN — not EU — sanctions because Belgium did not want any country in the world to trade the diamonds if Belgium could not. Walton also said the Czech Republic, in its capacity as the EU President, had been very active in the discussions. HMG sees Russia as the biggest obstacle in the UN to implementing sanctions. China, Walton assessed, is “uninterested” in the diamonds but appears to be distancing itself from the Mugabe regime.
2.(C) Discussing the mechanism of how the diamonds circumvent the KP, Walton said the Democratic Republic of Congo is the “biggest weakness.” According to HMG assessments, mining in the DRC has decreased by 80 percent with the renewed conflict in the East, but the DRC’s diamond exports have increased over 100 percent. Visit London’s Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX TUTTLE