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Last Updated:[17-11-2010 23:26:10 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Belgium Backs Zimbabwe on Diamond Trade – KP at Crossroads

tradenews The future of the Kimberley Process (KP), the international diamond trade watchdog is put to doubt when its monitor from South Africa certified a batch of controversial Zimbabwean diamonds for trade coupled with the Belgian diamond industry decided to save Zimbabwe from diamond trade embargo. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the Belgium-based organization has openly declared support for bringing Zimbabwe into international diamond trade while the monitor, SA’s Abbey Chikane, reportedly returned to Zimbabwe last week and had cleared a batch of Chiadzwa stones for export.

According to the Herald, while addressing a high-powered delegation from the AWDC at his office in Harare, Zimbabwean Minister of Mining Obert Mpofu revealed leading diamond dealers from countries including the US and Canada had repeatedly showed willingness to by diamonds with or without the KP. He said unless the KP made distinction between politics and economics it would not work, and warned that Harare could “make or break the KPCS.” “The biggest enemy of the KPCS is the politicisation of the organisation,” he added.

The minister urged the AWDC and Zimbabwean diamond trade sympathisers to play a constructive role in ensuring Zimbabwe freely trades in its diamonds. In response, the AWDC president Nishit Parikh said “We would like Zimbabwe to be successful. We are here to offer our services in whichever way we can for you to be part of the diamond community.”

Despite reversal at a recent meeting of the KP in Israel, which failed to reach a consensus on letting in Zimbabwe for diamond trade, the two events, the support from one of the largest diamond trade organizations and chinks in the KP monitoring system indicate Zimbabwe will be legally back in diamond trade soon.

About eighty percent of the world’s diamonds pass through the AWDC, and its daily trade averages $200mn with a yearly turnover of $45bn. Chikane’s reported unilateral decision to certify Chiadzwa diamonds, without approval from the KP, is now regarded as a worrying development among industry circles.

By Jose Roy

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