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Kimberley Process Members Head Home Leaving Deadlock Over Zimbabwe Diamonds


Delegates from at least 75 countries ended the four-day meeting in Jerusalem deadlocked over whether to allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from the controversial Marange field in eastern Manicaland province

Members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme headed home from Jerusalem on Friday after failing to reach a consensus on whether to allow Zimbabwe to export Marange diamonds without oversight or restrictions, though the industry oversight group was to seek to reach a decision after members consulted with home capitals.

World Diamond Council President Eli Izhakoff said Kimberley Chairman Boaz Hirsch would communicate with member states and organizations in the next few days to make sure an agreement acceptable to Zimbabwe and members is reached. He said some members rejected a deal proposed Thursday, and went home for consultations.

Delegates from at least 75 countries ended the four-day meeting in Jerusalem deadlocked over whether to allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from the controversial Marange field in eastern Manicaland province.

The Kimberly Process is a consensus-based organization, complicating agreement on such issues with human rights organizations alleging abuses in Marange lined up against Harare and its allies among African nations.

"It is not an easy situation. We recognize it. We are working together with Zimbabwe and other countries to solve it. The situation is as we said earlier remains the same, until we manage to create the consensus," Hirsh said.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said international stakeholders are reluctant to give Zimbabwe a blank check to export diamonds from Marange given the lack of transparency of operations there.

Despite allegations that top officials of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have put a stranglehold on the Marange diamond resource, the three parties in the power sharing Harare government favor stepped up exports of diamonds as the best way to fund state operations and fuel the economic recovery.

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says world must understand Zimbabwe depends on its national resources to revive its economy and that the alluvial diamonds coming out of Marange are not "blood diamonds" as there is no armed conflict.

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