EU to hold emergency meeting to discuss Zimbabwe diamonds


The European Union is organising an emergency meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring to discuss the recent decision by Kimberley Process Certification Scheme chair Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo to authorise Zimbabwe to export rough diamonds from its Marange mines.

The move has met strong resistance from the diamond industry and several bodies involved in the industry have written to their members urging them not to buy Marange diamonds. Those who do will be named and shamed on government websites usually reserved for sanctions busters.

Yamba has, however, said he is not going to reverse his decision until the next formal meeting of the KP.

Britain’s Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Howell, yesterday said Yamba’s authorisation was invalid because this was outside the mandate of the chair and was contrary to the core KP principle of consensual decision-making.

“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,” he said.

“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 WGM to discuss the issue as a matter of urgency.”

Zimbabwe’s diamonds have been at the centre of controversy for three years now with Zimbabwe and some of its African partners saying Western countries are barring Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds to protect their markets.

Western countries say Zimbabwe’s diamonds must be sold transparently and must benefit the people of Zimbabwe and not the military and President Robert Mugabe’s cronies. They also insist that the country must end human rights violations.

Zimbabwe’s new found diamonds could create havoc in the market as reports say the country’s diamond find could account for more than a quarter of the world production.

The government recently said it had received applications from about 150 companies that wanted to exploit the diamonds.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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