Zim 'trading in blood diamonds'

2007-05-22 16:24

London - Zimbabwe and Venezuela have not been co-operating with the Kimberley Process, the international effort to stamp out trade in conflict diamonds, the Antwerp-based World Diamond Council (WDC) says in its May 22 Antwerp Facets.

WDC chairperson Eli Izhakoff had told a meeting of Kimberley Process members in Jerusalem that both countries had asked for his help to become compliant.

Commenting, Namibian minister of mines Kennedy Hamutenya said Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo had also asked his country for similar help.

He said: "African countries have realised they have to work together to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.

"It is hard to eliminate all smuggling of such small, high-value items as diamonds, but African countries deserve credit for the progress they have made."

Leader of Global Witness, the London-based NGO that first highlighted the issue, agreed incidences of conflict diamonds were indeed on the decline, but said much more remained to be done to compile reliable statistics.

The Central African Republic, DRC and Angola were particularly troubling areas.

Meanwhile, Liberian minister of mines and energy Eugene Shannon has said he will crack down on diamond smugglers.