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Diatribe by Zimbabwe Mines Minister Poorly Received at Kimberley Meeting


Sources present during the meeting said Kimberly Process Chairman Mathieu Yamba of the DRC mildly rebuked Mpofu for addressing technical issues with political rhetoric during a plenary session

Zimbabwean Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told a Kimberley Process meeting under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday that Harare will keep selling diamonds from its Marange field with or without Kimberley Process, accusing ‘racist’ Western nations of trying to obstruct Zimbabwe from realizing diamond revenues.

Mpofu's remarks to the Kimberley plenary session, described by some as a diatribe that did not go over very well in the international forum, were his first intervention in Kinshasa as he had boycotted a previous meeting of the working group on Zimbabwe. Mpofu delegated that task to members of the pro-ZANU-PF Affirmative Action Group.

Representatives of Anjin, a Chinese firm that is developing parts of Marange in a joint venture with the Zimbabwean government made a presentation during Mpofu’s speech. The minister said Anjin will soon begin to export rough diamonds from Marange.

"We want to make it categorically clear here in Kinshasa that we will not allow or accept any mechanism of whatsoever nature, we are compliant full stop," Mpofu told delegates.

"We have to make it clear that Zimbabwe is compliant and will be selling its diamonds for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe as a full participant like any other compliant participant. We will continue to export from Mbada, Marange Resources including Anjin which is now ready to export and all the new mines that will commence production in the Marange Area."

He continued: "It is important that it be understood that we are not refusing scrutiny at all, but only to the extend it is supported by the Rules of the KPCS."

"The time for experiments is over, they experimented with the violence clause and the self-cessation mechanism, it failed. Tried the hybrid monitoring team, it has failed to pass the simple test of scrutiny. How many more experiments do we have to endure when we are fully compliant. Enough is Enough."

Sources present during the meeting said Kimberly Chairman Mathieu Yamba of the DRC mildly rebuked Mpofu for addressing technical issues with political rhetoric.

Those sources said some African delegates cheered Mpofu, but West African nations withdrew their support for Harare's position expressing their embarrassment.

But South African Mines Minister Susan Tshabangu confirmed Pretoria’s support for Zimbabwe's position that it is free to export diamonds as it wishes, based on a statement by incoming chairman Yamba to that effect which was not backed by a consensus.

Consultations continued on another compromise document regarding Zimbabwe.

Harare has rejected an earlier compromise agreement hammered out in Dubai earlier this year allowing exports with light supervision. Sources said Mpofu would meet Wednesday evening with African mine ministers in a bid to salvage what looked like a stalemate.

Affirmative Action Group secretary general Tafadzwa Musarara, in Kinshasa, said that his group wants Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, formerly Canadile Miners, to be allowed to sell their rough stones internationally without Kimberley oversight.

Diamond activist Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, near Marange, said Ghana and other African nations are selling their diamonds under Kimberley supervision therefore were taken aback by Mpofu's defiant stance.

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