Zimbabwe

Belgium 'loves' Zim blood diamonds

2013-02-13 22:01

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Zimbabweans go hungry as drought hammers southern Africa
Zimbabweans go hungry as drought hammers southern Africa

Even in the best of times, life is harsh in Siyagijima, a desolate village in southwest Zimbabwe. After the worst regional drought in nearly a decade and the failure of nearby crops, it is likely to be even harsher.

Harare - A world monitoring group on conflict diamonds says it wants restrictions on the sale of Zimbabwe diamonds tightened in the face of calls to relax them by diamond companies in Belgium.

Global Witness said that St Valentine's Day, marked on Thursday, coincides with calls by Belgium to ease controls on diamonds from the eastern Zimbabwe fields of Marange, long mired in allegations of killings, human rights violations and corruption.

Belgium has argued the controls hurt revenue filtering down to ordinary Zimbabweans. But Global Witness insisted on Wednesday the European nation's interests were "closer to home" in its diamond centre of Antwerp that promotes diamond gifts at this time of the year.

The group warned against what it called "a love triangle" between Belgium, its diamond dealers and Zimbabwe.

Read more on:    belgium  |  zimbabwe  |  blood diamonds

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