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Zimbabwe Can Export Rough

Jul 15, 2010 12:01 PM   By Anastasia Serdyukova
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RAPAPORT...  The Kimberley Process reached an agreement that will enable the renewal of rough diamond exports from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe.  The consensus agreement included NGOs, governments and industry representatives, which in itself was a "breakthrough," said Eli Izhakoff, president of the World Diamond Council (WDC). Even while this mini-session for Kimberley Process members focused on Zimbabwe, the group did not address redefining "blood diamonds," which remains open for debate. 

Izhakoff added that Zimbabwe's rough exports would not have an immediate effect on the market given that the quantity is rather small in the scheme of things.

Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane will return to Zimbabwe in early August to certify rough produced since May 28, 2010, by Mbada and Canadile at the Marange. He'll return again in September to certify a new round of production.

"The procedure will continue until the requirements of the [joint working group compliance plan] signed in Namibia [in November 2009] will be met," said Boaz Hirsch, chair of the Kimberley Process. "Those diamonds that were produced before the 28th of May will go through special forensic examination. This would be done by review mission that will exercise the decision of Kimberley. It will include at least six members including, U.S., E.U., Australia and others."

According to the agreement, which was reached in St. Petersburg today, by September 2010, Zimbabwe would then have carried out two supervised exports of rough diamonds from the Marange.

Furthermore, during Chikane's visit in August, the Kimberley Process will conduct a review mission to Zimbabwe and pay yet another visit the week of September 6 to certify a second round of rough exports. The Kimberley Process monitoring committee will review the report issued by the review mission to formulate a position regarding future exports.
"If this is a victory for anyone, it is a victory for the Kimberly Process," said  Hirsch. "The past several months have been difficult, but they have clearly demonstrated that not only does the Kimberley Process have teeth, it also is able to achieve results."
"Although we can regard this as progress, there remains much to do," said Izhakoff. "Although the discussions were often intense, 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."

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