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Kimberly Process Meeting Ends Without Consensus on Zimbabwe Diamonds


Some observers said the credibility of the group as a global diamond monitor was on the line given human rights abuses and illegal exports of diamonds alleged by Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations

Four days of talks by members of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme established to keep so-called blood diamonds off worldwide markets left in place an effective ban on the international sale of diamonds from the controversial Marange field in eastern Zimbabwe, with members still deadlocked late Thursday.

Sources said the marathon Kimberly discussions stretched through Wednesday night until 6 a.m. Thursday, then resumed at 1 p.m. continuing until 5 p.m. But a consensus continued to elude the organization.

Some observers said the credibility of the group as a global diamond monitor was on the line given human rights abuses and illegal exports of diamonds from Marange alleged by non-governmental organizations.

World Diamond Council President Eli Izhakoff called for changes in how the Kimberly Process reaches decisions.

Izhakoff told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the main stakeholders will reconvene to discuss the issue at the annual meeting of the World Diamond Council in Saint Petersburg, Russia, early next month.

Kimberly Process Chairman Boaz Hirsch said he hoped the organization can then clear the way for Marange diamonds to be marketed to produce much-needed revenues for the country.

Reuters quoted Mines Minister Obert Mpofu as saying Zimbabwe will sell diamonds without Kimberly certification. But buyers could be hard to find as member national are prohibited from purchasing uncertified diamonds.

Kimberly Process Zimbabwe monitor Abbey Chikane has submitted a report saying that Zimbabwe has substantially complied with Kimberly rules, recommending certification. But the group was disturbed by the recent arrest of Mutare-based activist Farai Maguwu, accused of publishing false information injurious to the state.

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