Thursday, November 18, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) Antwerp backs Zimbabwe diamond trade

Antwerp backs Zimbabwe diamond trade
By: Comment
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:52 am

THE future of the Kimberley Process (KP), the international diamond trade watchdog has been put to doubt at it has defied a report on Zimbabwe compiled by its own monitor.

Mr Abbey Chikane, the KP appointed monitor, last month submitted a report saying Zimbabwe had complied with all KP requirements, but the US blocked Zimbabwe's certification on flimsy grounds. This week, Mr Chikane went ahead and certified a batch of Zimbabwean diamonds for trade.

This move was also coupled with the Belgian diamond industry's backing of Zimbabwe, rendering the KP embargo useless.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the Belgium-based organization has openly declared support for bringing Zimbabwe into international diamond trade while the monitor.

Whie addressing a high-powered delegation from the AWDC at his office in Harare, Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu revealed that the leading diamond dealers from countries including the US and Canada had repeatedly showed willingness to buy 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 other global diamond traders 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.”

AWDC support 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 decision to certify Chiadzwa diamonds is a sign that the KP is losing its teeth as countries like the US and Britain have politicised the organisation.

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