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Zimbabwe Ministers, Led by VP Nkomo, Visit Controversial Marange Diamond Field

Public Works Minister Theresa Makone, a member of the delegation, said it was clear from the brief inspection tour that the country should be able to export its diamonds under the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme

Zimbabwean Vice President John Nkomo led Cabinet ministers Wednesday on a fact-finding visit to the controversial Marange diamond fields two weeks after police barred members of Parliament's Mines Committee from entering the area.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe also visited the diamond extraction operations in Marange district of eastern Manicaland Province.

The Mines Committee, which has been looking into the development of the Marange field by private sector firms under joint ventures with the government, called off its own return trip to the eastern diamond field until next week, sources on the committee said.

Public Works Minister Theresa Makone, a member of the MDC formation headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said Cabinet members wanted to collect first-hand information on the Marange operations.

She said Marange diamonds should be certified for sale on international markets by the Kimberly Process to fund the country's health and education systems.