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Kimberley Process Members Approve Modification to Zimbabwe Agreement

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Revision of the Zimbabwe agreement was the last effort of outgoing Kimberly Chairman Boaz Hirsch of Israel to reach a consensus on clearing the international sale of diamonds from the Marange field

Members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme have voted in favor of an amendment to an agreement hammered out last November in Jerusalem on marketing Zimbabwean diamonds from the controversial Marange field.

The amendment to a so-called violence clause will make it harder for those who allege human rights abuses in the Marange zone in eastern Manicaland province to seek a formal investigation by the Kimberley Process.

Under the new language, three rather than two member countries would have to endorse a call for monitoring by the industry watchdog group.

The amendment vote was the last effort of the outgoing Kimberley Process Chairman Boaz Hirsch of Israal to reach a consensus on certifying diamonds from the Marange alluvial field for export sale. Human rights organizations have charged that serious violations have occurred in the Marange field and to some extent continue.

Analysts say a continuing Kimberley ban on the export of Marange diamonds has had an affect on the international market where rough stone supplies have tightened.

Kimberley Process officials were waiting for Zimbabwean officials to accept or reject the modification of the agreement reached in Jerusalem last November.

Alan Martin, research director with Partnership Africa Canada, a Kimberley Process NGO member, told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that if Harare accepts the revised agreement that will be a step toward further export sales of Marange diamonds.

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