Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Initial Agreement Reached for Zimbabwe's Diamond Exports

As the World Diamond Council concluded its 7th Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg Thursday, an agreement that will enable two rough diamond exports from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe was reached.

In many ways a forced continuation of the KP congress held in Tel Aviv last month, the tug of war between supporters and opposers of the approval agreed that by September, Zimbabwe will be able to carry out two supervised exports of rough diamond from the Marange production.

The sides agreed that KP will conduct a review mission to Zimbabwe, held in conjunction with a visit of the KP Monitor Abbey Chikane to the country. Chikane will visit Zimbabwe again on the week of September 6 to certify the second supervised export. The Kimberley Process Monitoring Committee will review the report issued by the review mission to formulate a position regarding future exports, the WDC said in a statement.

"Although we can regard this as progress, there remains much to do," said WDC President Eli Izhakoff, adding that a great deal of good will was shown. "We need to build on this and to continue the hard work of the past several months."

Throughout the two-day gathering, intensive meetings were reportedly held to break the log-jam over the diamond exports.

Izhakoff invited the KP to hold a mini-summit in St. Petersburg alongside the Council, in an attempt to reach an agreement. As a result, a delegation from Zimbabwe, headed by Minister of Mining Obert Moses Mpofu and Attorney General Johanne Tomama, traveled to St. Petersburg for the meeting. So did a delegation from the U.S. State Department led by Susan Page, Assistant U.S. Deputy Secretary of State.

The Plenary Session brought to St. Petersburg representatives of the global diamond industry, government representatives from producing, cutting and consumer centers, member of the banking community and the media.

While the resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe remained high on the agenda, another central issue were the steps needed to reform and refine the KP, seven years after its rough diamond certification scheme was first launched.

Source: Edahn Golan

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