Zim 'blood diamonds' worth $160m for sale

2011-07-04 17:38

Harare - Zimbabwean rough diamonds worth about $160m, which had been confiscated in the United Arab Emirates, have been released for sale, the minister for mines confirmed on Monday.

The move has sparked concerns that the Kimberley Process - the international group formed to clamp down on trade in diamonds used to fund conflicts - might collapse.

Confirming a report in The Herald newspaper about the release of the diamonds, Zimbabwean Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said: "We still have hurdles to jump before it is a smooth sailing. We notice that it has not sunk [in] to America that it lost its efforts to have our diamonds off the world market."

The diamonds were mined from the Marange fields, but confiscated in November in Dubai. Last week, Mpofu said the Kimberley Process lifted the trade embargo at a meeting in Kinshasa in spite of objections from the United States, European Union, Israel and Canada.

Diamond exports from Marange have been suspended since June 2009 because of alleged police and military abuses in the fields, including killings, beatings, forced labour and smuggling. Zimbabwe promised a phased withdrawal of armed forces and to allow a monitor to examine and certify all diamond shipments from Marange.

But human rights groups say Zimbabwe failed to stop the abuses and has not complied with process rules.

The US State Department said last week that, contrary to some reports, there was no consensus reached at the Kinshasa meeting. It was referring to a press release by Kimberly Process chairman Mathieu Yamba that the group had unanimously agreed to lift Zimbabwe's diamond trade ban.

"We believe that work toward a solution must continue, and that until consensus is reached, exports from Marange should not proceed," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

The Marange diamonds are said to be in India now, according to a report by Idex, an online diamond exchange.

"Miners, retailers, and consumers have relied on the Kimberley Process to stop blood diamonds from being sold, but, with Chairperson Yamba's decision, the KP has betrayed their trust," said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.

"Governments and companies should ignore his decision unless they want to make blood diamonds available to consumers and ruin the credibility of the Kimberly Process as well."

  • jbjoe - 2011-07-04 18:04

    First read this: "The move has sparked concerns that the Kimberley Process - the international group formed to clamp down on trade in diamonds used to fund conflicts - might collapse." Then this: "Last week, Mpofu said the Kimberley Process lifted the trade embargo at a meeting in Kinshasa in spite of objections from the United States, European Union, Israel and Canada." So, they went ahead and allowed the trade process to continue and now they fear that they might collapse Its obvious old mugabafoon paid off the council!!!

  • chaminuka - 2011-07-04 18:17

    The world should let Zimbabwe enjoy its Diamonds. Maybe, its citizens might start going home....maybe, it can start paying its civil servants decent wages, maybe it can start paying its debts, maybe the world and Zimcitizens can now get to know how much is being earned from the diamonds and demand to see how the money is spent. Countries that do not support this process want to see the diamonds sold on the cheap on the blackmarket! Let them sell their diamonds openly and it will be easier to follow the paper trail.

      gargmelsmurfeater - 2011-07-04 18:26

      you mean the diamonds they are abusing their citizens to collect? Maybe you should be forced to shovel coal by eskom for their generators so "South Africans" can have electricity....Idiot...

      Marius Rossouw - 2011-07-04 18:39

      Maybe, you will wake up tomorrow morning and realize it was only a dream.

      Liberty - 2011-07-05 03:49

      No all it would do is finance Mugabe, his police and army puppets and his btch's next spending spree

  • deminimus - 2011-07-05 00:27

    Money from the sale must go to the Government so they can pay back the loan they got from SA.

      Krush - 2011-07-05 07:31

      You think they'll pay back anything? We'll never see that money. Just like cuba's 1 billion we wrote off. No, south africa clearly supports dictatorships.

  • Sisie - 2011-07-05 07:18

    Finance Mugabe, Grace and all their pals in government. Oh let's not forget the army - who oversee the diamond fields. If .005% get back to the people then that is a miracle. Where are they getting their weapons from? Someone must be supplying them - oh that's right the Chinese, so that they can have their enormous secret military base north of Harare. Probably the largest military base in Africa - makes you wonder who are they getting ready to make war with.

      daaivark - 2011-07-05 07:53

      You've been reading too many comics, Sisie. Enormous chinese base near Harare? Come on. Some Zim troops are trained by North Korea. Please provide some sort of evidence.

  • David - 2011-07-08 11:39

    Let us remind ourselves what Muagabe is and what he represents. It would be highly irresponsible for these diamonds to enter the market and funds chanelled back to Zimbabwe. It would simply be funding a minority that place supresion to the majority and add further delays to Zimbabwe's desperate need of change....a democracy with a functional government.

  • Flynn - 2011-08-08 11:45

    Lots of diamonds are smuggled via Zambia, etc - yes blood diamonds. There is no Chinese army in Zimbabwe. Why do people speculate? The Chinese is financing Zimbabwe at the moment and they take back all the tobbaco from Zimbabwe which was a deal that was finalized a couple years ago. Diamonds can never be sold properly in Zimbabwe, Mugabe and co will loot the money whilst their people suffer. A dictator never worry about its people, his only concern is his back pocket

  • Mandla - 2011-09-27 23:25

    The problem with the international world is that sanction imposed on Mugabe and his comrades have no effect on them as they are still enjoying their dominance in the country.Sanction are meant to starve odinary people with an aim of pushing people to call for a regime change which is something which have failed to matrilise in Zim.Had Britain known that by giving Zimbabeans a better education system will work in Mugabe`s favour than what they anticipated,they should`nt have done that in the first place,they should have learned from the Afrikaaners governmant who did not give black South Africans better education so as to be able to control them economicaly.Its easy to insight black South Africans to turn against a black governmant than it is to black Zimbabweans.Clever britons.The level of education is Zim is working in Mugabe`s favour hence they can move around the world in saerch for better life than resorting to violance in the name of regime change like what has happened in east and central Africa.Thanks to clever britons you did a wonderful job.

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