SADC blocks US from becoming KP vice-chair


Three members of the Southern African Development Community- South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe- have barred the United States from becoming vice-chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which would have resulted in the US automatically assuming the chairmanship next year.

Reports say the move is a big setback for the US as it had already come up with reforms which it intended to get approved next year.

Twenty-one countries are reported to have supported the US candidacy but the three Southern African countries opposed it. The vote was supposed to be by consensus.

United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs Susan Page was in Zimbabwe last week to lobby the country to support its candidacy for the KP post.

Zimbabwe said it was not going to support the US candidacy until the US reversed its stance on the revised its stance on the Draft Administrative Decision on Zimbabwe which allows Zimbabwe to sell its rough diamonds from Marange but under strict conditions which include a ban on any sale of diamonds mined between 2007 and 2009 and a resumption of the export ban if there are reports of renewed violence in Marange.

Diamond industry insider Chaim Even-Zohar said SADC countries are thinking of withdrawing from the KP altogether.

African diamond producers are disgruntled with the barring of Zimbabwe from the KP and argue that this is to protect western producers like Canada and Australia and has nothing to do so so-called human rights violations.


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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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