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Diamond Meeting Ends Without Consensus on Conflict Gems

The Kimberley Process has failed to reach a consensus on the redefinition of the term blood diamonds following proposals by the United States that it should include rights abuses by states and not only rebels fighting to topple elected governments.

According to Allan Martin, research director of Partnership Africa Canada who attended the one-week KP annual meeting in Washington DC which ended Friday, Asian and some African nations, including Zimbabwe, rejected the U.S proposals.

Martin said despite the rejection of the proposals, the United States and some non-governmental organizations will continue pushing for the redefinition of conflict diamonds.

Martin futher said the Kimberley Process has given Zimbabwe the green-light to mine and sell diamonds without monitors.

Zimbabwe was represented at the meeting by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, several other state officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The country was expected this year to generate $600 million in diamond revenues but the Ministry of Finance downgraded these projections due to diminished sales from Marange and lack of transparency in the mining of the gems.

The Kimberley Process is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative designed to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebels to finance wars against legitimate governments.
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